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I can’t wait to see Kim back on an All-Stars season, preferably a reunion of the winners.

Ownage. Like I’ve never seen.

Kim Spradlin’s buddy Chelsea Meissner put it pretty well — after Kim won her fourth immunity challenge on “Survivor: One World” — “You’re a beast.”

Thanks for stopping by, Christina. It’s a shame you didn’t feel the need to scramble or speak up for yourself or anything. It even sounds like you *liked* Alicia, who did nothing but insult you. You deserve better.

Yep. She’s a beast and she’s the best.

Kim just won that immunity, taking her to the final 3, so she hasn’t quite won yet. But she will win. She has to. “Survivor” should quit itself if she doesn’t.

*Update* She did it! Kim won. Sabrina got two votes, somehow, but the jury did its job. *End update*

It’s not like Kim *only* played against fools, like Boston Rob on “Redemption Island.” There were some actual players out there, but they were deluded by Kim’s baby blues and her ability to play both sides but still get people to trust her. And she never gloated to the people she beat, unlike Russell Hantz.

Kim stayed true to her original alliance with Chelsea and Sabrina Thompson, so she can be trusted for some things.

I just hope that doesn’t come back to bite her in the butt here at the end. Because people like Kat are in the jury and they are bitter, bitter, bitter. (*Update* Actually, Kat ditched her bitterness! Instead, she asked the jury to not be mad, because she’s going to have to have surgery again and it’s taught her … whatever. Point is: She’s not bitter anymore.)

I’m sorry, Sabrina, but this should’ve been a unanimous win for Kim. No two votes for Sab. But I’m shocked that Chelsea didn’t get any. Wasn’t Chelsea supposed to be Kim’s biggest threat? Guess not.

Parvati — who should’ve been the first person to win “Survivor” twice, first on “Fans vs. Favorites” and again on “Heroes vs. Villains” — became a “Survivor” icon through flirting, winning challenges and backstabbing. She was the original leader of an all-women alliance, but she didn’t dominate as much as Kim.

Sandra is the first person to win “Survivor” twice, illustrating Jeff Probst’s point about how sometimes the most unlikely people win this game.

And Stephenie is the ultimate female challenge dominator (at least on “Palau,” when she was the strongest member of her dying tribe) — not just when it comes to balancing things or challenges that tend to benefit smaller people.

Kim combined them all — she backstabbed, won every kind of challenge and played an amazing social game, getting people to trust her with their lives even as she had them wrapped around her fingers.

She’s like Amanda, if Amanda didn’t always choke in the end.

I disagree with Mike that Kim should’ve found someone else to blame for her blindsides. She should take pride in them. And she did. She’s not sorry. Kim showed you can lie, backstab and blindside and still come across as a good person. The final Tribal Council was sweet and emotional instead of harsh and bitter because of the tone Kim set. She’s that freakin’ good.

Oh and she won Player of the Season too. Jury picked her. America picked her. $1,100,000 — not bad for about 40 days of work.

I can’t wait to see Kim back on a Winners season. How would she do against Parvati, Boston Rob, Tom Westman and the other power players?

Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this little archive.

Kim spoke the title of tonight's episode, "Just Annihilate Them," in which she launched the annihilation of the men. You. Go. Girl.

It’s been a while since I added something to my Things That Are Obvious file, but now is the time.

Most of the men and women of “Survivor: One World” have been a series of cringe-worthy stereotypes. But at this point a few decent frontrunners are emerging — and others are eating wood and accusing tribe-mates of “subliminally harassing” them because of a bias against plastic surgeons. (Tarzan, you are officially the Phillip Sheppard of this season. Enjoy the crispy rice.)

It’s pretty obvious that the one player who has been strong the whole season — not just in the halcyon post-Colton weeks — is Kim Spradlin. She’s smart. She’s sly. She seems trustworthy but she’s not afraid to lie. She’s good at damage control. She had no real enemies up to tonight’s “Just Annihilate Them” blindside, whereas her #1 ally, Chelsea Meissner, is currently feuding with Tarzan (and his “rantics”). Chelsea also potentially blew the women’s alliance by asking Jay Byars if he’d like to vote out his own buddy, Mike — and she asked it in front of two people who were not supposed to be in their alliance. Those two people were women, showing Jay that a women’s alliance existed, as opposed to the tight Salani alliance he was counting on. Oops. Even the mild-mannered Kim called her friend’s move “asinine.”

Jay is piiiiissssed now. Or he seemed to be in the preview for next week, but it also looks like he DID end up voting for Mike, not Christina. Kim has that idol to protect her, but if Jay doesn't go next ... or even if he does, will others turn on Kim? She can only save herself once, unless she wins a bunch of immunity challenges.

Here’s why I love Kim: She diffused that bomb masterfully. Smartly nervous Jay was about to tell Mike that his name came up, but Kim cut him right off and volunteered Christina as the one to go next. They wanted a woman to go home. She knew it. They bought it. Mike went home instead. (One thing that confuses me: It looks like Jay DID vote for Mike in the end. How did that conversation play out?)

Now the women have the majority. And it’s Kim’s doing. (Although, if you look at the votes, both Alicia and Christina voted for Tarzan to leave, not Mike. So is there really a women’s alliance or just a *selective* alliance led by three women?)

So here’s what I’m thinking — Kim made a huge, smart move but it was based on lies and deception, so will she be rewarded for that if she makes it to the end or will the men bash her in final tribal? She convinced Troyzan that Mike had it in for him — ’cause Troy just doesn’t like Mike for some reason — but the truth will eventually come out.

Big power players rarely get rewarded as often as whoever sits next to them. So will Chelsea or SabrinaKim’s main allies — end up winning over her? Will Jay convince Kat — who is as thick as the wood Tarzan was eating — to leave the women’s alliance and target Kim? Or will Kim continue to be brilliant, use her hidden idol wisely and stay smart and charming enough to win that million dollars as the queen bee and next Parvati Shallow?

Even before the season started I picked Kim as the most likely to win. Usually my winner predictions are wrong, but that person usually ends up being the Player of the Season. (I picked Russell Hantz before “Samoa” started and Jane Bright before “Nicaragua.”)

So, whatever else happens, Kim will hopefully win at least one title this season.

Read my “Survivor” stories in this archive.

Dawn tweeted this pic of herself and her crew. I'm guessing none of these people win tonight. Check out more of her pics @meehand. (And obviously I was wrong about none of these folks winning. Go Sophie!)

*Update* My girl Sophie did it! I didn’t see her beating Coach, but he broke too many promises — after basing his game around “honor and integrity” — and she gave great straight-to-the-point final jury answers. No ass kissing. No tears. Maybe she wasn’t the ideal choice to win, but I can definitely see why she won. *End update*

The “Survivor: South Pacific” finale was supposed to start at 8 p.m. but, as usual, CBS had to push its Sunday night content back for football. This happens every dang week, as fans of “60 Minutes,“The Amazing Race” and “The Good Wife” know too well.

Is it weird if I kinda hope Brandon wins the duel?

Anyway, once this puppy gets going I plan to document the Coach vs. Ozzy showdown. Does anyone think the non-veterans even have a chance? Does anyone else mind that idea? It doesn’t seem fair, just like it seemed almost cruel for Boston Rob to steamroll his newbies on “Redemption Island.”

This has not been my favorite season — it’s all been downhill since “Heroes vs. Villains” — but I can live with Coach, Ozzy or Sophie winning, especially Coach or Sophie. Coach has made too many promises and Ozzy + Ego have coasted on a pure physical game, but what else do we have? It’s not ideal — or even fair — but so be it.

*** LIVE BLOG BEGINS *** (refresh for updates)

8:34 p.m.: Recap of the season. Big focus on Ozzy so far. I had forgotten about Coach’s “Christian man” promise to Ozzy to take him to the end with one other person. Recap ends around 8:40.

8:42 p.m.: Brandon arrives at Redemption Island – aka Ozzy’s Pleasure Dome! Brandon feels betrayed, but he forgives Albert. Ozzy realizes Brandon wasn’t blindsided, as he said, he was just foolish to give up his immunity necklace. He was playing a “blind faith” game.

Oh Brandon. Oh well.

8:44 p.m.: Oooh! Coach is PISSED at Albert. He’s tearing into him for lying and bullying and knowing that Brandon was going to go home and pulling that move anyway. Albert is basically dead to Coach. That feels a bit harsh considering Coach has been making deals left and right too.

8:46 p.m.: Duel time! Ozzy will miss Redemption Island. He’s had it sweet over there. The challenge: They have to hang onto a pole for as long as they can. Oh that could take a while. Remember “Palau”? What was that, like an 11 hour challenge or something? But Jeff said they’ve never had such a narrow foothold before.

8:51 p.m.: What are the odds — Ozzy wins. He gets to go back in the game. Will Coach honor his word and take him to the end? Could he be that crazy? Why did he make that promise? In the meantime, Brandon is talking about his heart-to-heart with God.

8:52 p.m.: What, wait? Jeff just told Ozzy he has been an underdog from day one. Really? He’s been a dominating leader from day one.

Ozzy is clearly the challenge king, but what about the rest of his game? His strategy was just to focus on the physical aspect. Is that enough? Boston Rob was Ozzy + Coach in one. To me, Coach has the edge for getting Cochran to turn and helping his whole tribe get to the end.

8:57 p.m.: Albert said it’s definitely strange to have Ozzy back among them. It’s 4 against Ozzy. Everyone knows it. They all want to beat him in the next challenge, but how likely is that? Now it’s Ozzy talking to Coach. Coach said he doesn’t think Ozzy is going anywhere. Oh Lord — Coach said he has the hidden idol and if he wins immunity he’ll give it to Ozzy if he thinks he’s in danger. Ozzy doesn’t buy it. To his credit, he said why would Coach want him in the end? But to Coach’s face he said he thinks it should be the two of them in the end. As if it was pre-ordained once they signed up. Coach tells the camera “it’s my game to lose” because everyone wants to take him to the final 3. Is that true? If so, what does that say about how easy they all think it will be to beat Coach.

9 p.m.: Challenge time! It’ s a card balancing challenge. House of cards. Where are the big, physical challenges of yore?

9:04 p.m.: What are the odds? Ozzy wins the immunity challenge. Ugh. I guess I’m the only one bored by his domination. So will he be the next Boston Rob? Will they vote out Coach? Who does Ozzy want to sit next to in the end? I’d get rid of Coach and Sophie and sit next to Rick and Albert. They are the easiest to beat.

Is it just me or does Rick Nelson kinda look like JT Thomas in 20 years?

9:09 p.m.: Ozzy is stoked. He plans to facilitate the process of the Upolu’s turning on each other. He wants to stay the “good guy” in their eyes. He’s making Boston Rob-esque speeches. Foreshadowing? Coach tells Albert that Rick has the best bet of winning the game, which does NOT seem to be the case from here. Ozzy made a pitch for Sophie to leave. Wait, is there another immunity challenge coming? How are they going to get down to three? Rick compares Coach to an attorney, he skirts around the truth. Coach told Albert that Rick was a threat, but he just told Rick that he would never vote for him. Uh-oh. Albert just talked to Coach and Coach said he can’t wait to vote Ozzy’s ass out of there, which is in direct contrast to his “Christian man” promise. Oh Coach. You are digging your own final Tribal Council speech grave right now.

9:15 p.m.: Time for Tribal Council vote. This is the last time Coach can play his hidden idol and he’s planning to do it. I really hope Sophie wins the next immunity challenge, if only to wipe the condescending smirk of Ozzy’s face. SHE’S pretentious? Right. Even Brandon is shocked by Coach’s “bonding” “family” stuff when it comes to Ozzy. Ozzy is airing all of that to the jury. Sophie said Ozzy has disrespected her from day one. He does have a history of being not-so-nice to women. He thinks Sophie is a spoiled “brat” and has been sitting around? What about Prince Albert? Why her? Everyone has challenged Albert. And Ozzy IS arrogant. Sophie is right on this. She’s hurt and tearing up. Ozzy is a jerk sometimes. No one ever calls him on it and even Jeff is just going with the “thin skin” argument. The jury is eating this up. Except for Dawn. Dawn is nice. WHOA. Jeff tells Sophie her crying is a big reason to get rid of her? Way to editorialize, Jeff. You didn’t do that for Brandon and his 9 million emotional breakdowns.

Still Team Sophie. Deal with it. How come Coach never wears a full shirt? Every other guy manages to do it.

9:22 p.m.: Rick is voted out. The final four are Ben “Coach” Wade, Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth, Albert Destrade and Sophie Clarke. Rick was NOT happy with Coach. Coach stood up to give him a man hug goodbye and Rick told him to SIDDOWN. He wishes he had made a bigger move in the game but he was just blinded by the idea that Coach was true to his word. Rick: “Ozzy’s got my vote.” Crap.

9:30 p.m.: Ozzy can “sense victory.” His plan A is to win. Plan B is also to win. His entire strategy all season has been to win challenges. But that’s not the entirety of “Survivor.” Coach is now mad at Ozzy, feeling betrayed because Ozzy outed his “Christian man” speech. He didn’t want that out there. Now he feels stabbed in the back, which is rich considering Coach told Albert he can’t wait to vote Ozzy’s ass out. But Ozzy just made a SMART move in playing the “I was hurt in the past” sympathy card. That’s right up Coach’s alley. Coach said he wants it to be him vs. Coach in the end and he wants Sophie and Albert to make fire, as in tie in the final vote and have to do a fire-making showdown. No purple rocks?

Ozzy had a huge lead in the challenge, going into making the puzzle. Jeff said it was the hardest puzzle of the season.

YES! Spoiled brat, eh? Ozzy grinned at the idea that she was his biggest competition to win the final challenge but it turns out she was right. As usual.

9:33 p.m. OK, now THIS is the final immunity challenge. It’s a physical challenge obstacle course, just like I like ’em. They have to bring back five bags and work on a puzzle. Ozzy had a huge lead but lost it to Sophie when it went from physical to mental. My point exactly. Sophie wins final immunity.

GO GIRL! Ozzy looks so pissed. Awesome. Dump Ozzy and keep Coach and Albert. Coach may still win, though.

9:44 p.m.: Ozzy said his mind turned inside-out at the puzzle. He’s just not a mental player. Coach declares Sophie the new “Dragon Slayer” because she slayed Ozzy. So Coach is kissing her ass now and is totally turning his back on Ozzy. But Coach goes to talk to Ozzy and Ozzy said he wants a chance to do a fire challenge against Albert. Right. Coach said it’s going against his word. But Coach has given his word to everyone. Coach doesn’t know what to do because, from the beginning, he said he wanted the “warriors” in the end and Ozzy is certainly a warrior. So it’s not easy for him to write his name down. Coach is damned either way at this point. He’s backed himself into a corner.

Only your old friends clapped for you, Ozzy. If you had attempted a social game with Cochran it would've been your tribe in the finals.

9:52 p.m.: It’s the final vote! I love the shocked and disappointed faces to see Sophie with immunity instead of Ozzy. Ha ha. Ozzy called it “a million dollar puzzle.” Ozzy brings up his fire-making challenge idea again. All Ozzy has is the challenges so it’s no wonder he keeps playing that one card. He has no alliances. He has no strategy. He has his own physical strength and skill — as long as it isn’t mental. “Pride comes before the fall,” Albert says as he votes for Ozzy to leave. Uh-oh. Maybe that applies to Sophie too. She voted for “Ozzy” and said “because I’m the new Dragon Slayer.”) YES! Ozzy is gone. He said he had a good run and some of his former tribe-mates applauded, but not Dawn or Cochran since he never really had a great social game with them. Albert thanked God. God is orchestrating this win.

10:04 p.m.: The final three are Sophie, Coach and Albert. It’s “an Ozzy-free camp.” Coach may be in trouble. They are going to beat the crap out of him in the final jury speeches. Coach is on Cloud 9. He quotes Shakespeare or Mark Twain or whoever doesn’t want to wake from a dream. They wake up to a huge breakfast feast.

10:06 p.m.: Aaaaaand the honeymoon is over. Sophie and Coach think it should be down to the two of them. They plan to talk bout Albert’s “squirrely” side. Sophie wants to keep her emotions together so no one thinks she’s a nut job. She’s going more logically than emotionally. Sophie talks to Albert and they kind of knock Coach too. Albert tells the camera he thinks he played a much better game than the other two. When was this? Which season of “Survivor”? This one? Nope. There was a time when I thought he was a great bet to win, but from Prince Albert to his “squirrely” behavior, I think he’s out of the running. No?

10:09 p.m.: Time for the final vote. The power has shifted to the jury, which now includes Ozzy wearing pigtails.

The final 3 during opening statements to the jury. Sophie kept to logic, like she said, while the other two made flowery pageant speeches.

Albert said he is honored and privileged to be there. He says the game in essence is a “social experiment.” It’s not a game about chess pieces, it’s a game about people. A higher power brought them together. He thanks them for being part of a journey they will never forget. He’s thankful for the opportunity. Total job interview.

Sophie cuts to the chase. It’s outwit, outlast, outplay. She won three immunity challenges. For strategy, she made a five person alliance from the beginning and kept it to the end. Socially, she’s not a used car salesman but she worked on her social game and she was as honest as possible.

Coach says wow he can’t believe he’s up there. Redemption Island was built for someone like Ozzy whereas Coach is a bit of a character. Last time he played the game with arrogance and this time he tried to change and play with compassion. This time he tried to not bend others to his plans he just looked around at the others. When you open up yourself to others you receive back tenfold. (Yeah, you receive anger at broken promises…)

10:16 p.m.: The (bitter) jury speaks!

Ozzy announces that no one wants to vote for any of those guys — as if they ALL wanted to vote for him and his pigtails. He insults them all, tween girl hair and all, and asks about how Coach played the game. Coach admits he played honorably most of the time but not always.

Jim asked Albert why Sophie and Coach shouldn’t win the game. And he told Albert not to start with a compliment. So Albert started by complimenting Jim’s question. Albert said he and Sophie carried Coach to the end. Albert said Sophie did not play as good a social game as he did.

Dawn asked Sophie why she aligned with Coach and Albert. Sophie told Dawn she wished she was a man because they can get two young girls to follow them around. Coach was like a young girl to her because he said his loyalty is worth more than a million dollars. He wanted actual redemption. With Albert, he was into strategy and she liked aligning with someone who could talk strategy. But as time went on, her relationship with Albert soured. Albert is still there because keeping him gave her a better shot at getting to the end than Rick.

Rick said Coach wanted to play with honor. Does he have anything to say to Rick? Coach just said “I apologize.” Rick called Albert on playing the God card with Brandon, which was a bunch of bull. Rick said Sophie lied; she said her name is worth a lot and she only lied when necessary and it hurt her most to lie to him. Rick is bitter!

Brandon said Coach told him he would never write his name down. Coach said he believes Brandon should be there. He said he elevated them all? Albert said he would do anything to win but he would never compromise his relationship with God.

Whitney said Albert is “sleazy” and he buttered people up when he knew they were leaving the game. She said Coach used God as strategy. She called Sophie the most condescending person she ever met. (Has she met Ozzy? Ozzy loves pretty girls but he’s condescending to everyone else, like Cochran and Sophie.)

Edna said the most historic way to manipulate people is through religion. (Nice!) She said they shouldn’t hold any hard feelings against them duping them because they signed up for it and they were successful. Love it.

Keith asked why Coach didn’t play the individual immunity idol at all. Coach said he did think it was a tribe idol. Coach almost used it at the 6/6 tribe meet. He didn’t play it because he didn’t need to play it. Sophie said Albert found the clue with the help of Sophie and others distracting. They were going to keep it for the three of them but they staged a discovery of the idol.

Cochran said more than anyone he was a fan of Coach and Coach tricked him. He played on his ego. Cochran said he loved that. (I knew he would! Good for him.) What Cochran didn’t appreciate is how often Coach talked about honor. Coach said he came into the game wanting to do the right thing but he ended up doing all the wrong things. Coach also called himself “a terrible strategist.” Sophie said he was his strategist. Albert said it was he and Sophie together.

10:33 p.m.: The jury votes. It’s almost time for Jeff to take whatever crazy transportation he can for the LIVE finale.

Cochran votes for Coach. He hopes they aren’t super bitter and vote for Coach too. I knew Cochran was a true gamer and would appreciate Coach’s move. But the other are bitter.

Sophie voted for Dawn, as I figured she would after that Q&A.

Wow, Albert looks so different without hair.


10:35 p.m.: The finale is live in L.A. … we don’t see Jeff do anything more than walk the votes into the studio. No chopper? No boat?

1st vote: Coach

2nd: Sophie

3rd: Coach

4th: Sophie

5th: Coach Wade

6th: Sophie (tied 3/3 right now)

7th: Sophie

8th: The winner of “Survivor: South Pacific” – Sophie!

*** REUNION ***

Sophie had just graduated college about four days before getting to the island. And now she is the new Dragon Slayer.

Jeff said Sophie played a quiet game. She said she probably had her finger on the pulse of the game the entire time. They created this religious framework and being loyal and trustworthy and she worked around that. She said in real life she does tend to be more of an observer. She’s now Facebook friends with everyone in her small town of Willsboro, N.Y. On the topic of being a spoiled brat, Sophie said she’s going to try to be more like Dawn. Dawn is pretty cool.

I do feel bad for Coach, but he has a lot to be proud of — and he got the redemption he wanted. This is good PR for him.

Jeff asks about all the prayer out there — not just general prayer to God but specifically for winning challenges or for someone to find an idol. Coach said it became a prayerpalooza.

Jeff asks if Coach had brought Rick to the end instead of Sophie, would Coach win? Yes, he would’ve. He would’ve gotten the four votes.

Jeff asks if Ozzy got to the end, would he win? Yes. But Sophie won thanks to that million dollar challenge.

Ozzy calls Sophie one of the smartest players to ever play the game. He was very kind to her. Jeff said he dominated, dominated, dominated and then a puzzle came up — his bread and butter. So what happened? Ozzy said he didn’t focus when he needed to. He beat himself. I think he did OK, it’s just that Sophie’s mind works a different way. He had the physical part down but her skill was in the mechanics of solving complicated puzzles.

Ozzy makes a speech (a long one!) about falling down and getting back up again.

Thankfully Jeff asks Ozzy about Cochran — someone else who didn’t want Ozzy to win. Ozzy only says he maybe regrets not giving Cochran the idol. So he doesn’t regret treating Cochran like crap, condescending to him? That’s all he had to do — treat Cochran like an equal.

Because Jeff worships Ozzy (at Sophie’s expense, even though she won), he finds a gushing Sanjaya girl in the audience and has her ask Ozzy how he does it — how does he climb those trees like they are nothing? How is he just sooooo super dreamy and perfect? Good God.

Here's a blurry shot of the reunion group.

Cochran, I don’t hate you! I think you made a smart move, then blew it when your ego exploded and you had no follow-up plan. Cochran is not getting any loving out there. No dates. He wants women to “come at me.” Ha!

Brandon said not everybody in his family is happy — “especially Russell,” who is in the audience. The rest of Brandon’s family isn’t there. “I don’t think a lot of people are very proud of me.”

Jeff talks to Russell in the audience. Did Brandon restore the Hantz family name? Russell said he is Uncle Russell, but he is also Russell from Survivor. He will sit down and shut up if Brandon wants him to. But Jeff wants Russell to critique Brandon’s game. Russell said Brandon went out there to change the family name, but “I made greatness. I brought the game to a level that is — you can’t even comprehend.” (Ugh.) What did Brandon do wrong? “Everything,” Russell says. Jeff said (joking?) that next season should be Russell vs. Brandon. NO MORE HANTZES. Just bring them onto your new talk show, Jeff, since you love them so much.

By the biggest margin in history, Ozzy won Player of the Season. Cochran was second, but not even close.

Whitney and Keith are now a couple. She was in a relationship when the show started. It made People Magazine headlines and all. “Survivor” is a condensed dating show.

Edna’s husband loves the new Edna and now she’s pregnant.

I feel bad for Brandon that his family has turned against him, but he was so wrong for this show — from Mikayla to the breakdowns to giving away his immunity idol.

Jeff gave Sophie the check for $1 million. They’ve never done that before. So is she not going on TV in the morning?

Next season will be “Survivor: One World,” starting in February. Two tribes will live together on one island.


Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this little archive.

Go back to the Tai Chi, it was more authentic.

*Update* Read my live blog of the finale here. Go Sophie!

God should sue “Survivor: South Pacific” for misrepresentation. His name keeps being taken in vain — not in swears as much as excuses. It wasn’t me, it was “God’s will!” I prayed and God told me to dump your ass in the next vote.

It must be convenient to not have to take responsibility for your own decisions. Last I heard, God is all about free will. And chances are He couldn’t give an arse about who wins pizza or a necklace in a “Survivor” challenge.

Please, no more Hantzes on "Survivor."

Because I’m so tired of the past two seasons turning into “Survivor: The Biggest Martyr,” I’m going to support the people who haven’t gone for that cheap argument. That means my girl Sophie Clarke — playing a very smart game — or my boy Rick Nelson — playing a likable cowboy game.

Rick is just sort of there and really shouldn’t win anything, but at least he’s not going crazy while he’s there, like Brandon or Phillip “The Crispy Rice” Sheppard last season. I love the guy. Love the mustache. Love the cowboy look. He’s like JT Thomas in 20 years or so.

But I don’t see Sophie or Rick making it to the end. I see Coach getting to the end with his immunity necklace. I see Ozzy coming back from Redemption Island. And I see them choosing to sit next to Albert Destrade because Albert is sneaky and at this point he is probably the best third player “goat” in contention, even though playing the prayer card and keeping Brandon’s idol was smart and saved his own butt.

Brandon was a great goat option too. I don’t understand the idea that he was the most trust-worthy, godly guy and a threat in the end. Are you kidding me? I can’t imagine anyone voting for him to win. But he was too much of a loose cannon to keep around. (Just like Uncle Russell!) He’s right, he was not made for this game.

You never give away your immunity necklace — especially not at the final 5 when you don’t have security. And especially not how Brandon did it. He was ticked at lying Albert and tried to ignore Albert’s desperate gotta-save-my-butt babbling. Then Albert said Brandon had closed his heart to him. Well, that was definitely playing Brandon the right way. Brandon replied that his heart wasn’t closed to his brother. He thought about God and forgiveness and how he himself was flawed and then — poof! — on a dime, he not only forgave Albert, he decided out of nowhere to hand over his hard-won immunity necklace. Crazy.

I give this season's "next time on Survivor..." promos credit — they try hard to make it seem like someone will beat Ozzy at Redemption but instead every result has been completely predictable.

Not to speak for God, but Sophie didn’t even lie or do anything wrong so she didn’t even need forgiveness. Is that not worthy of being saved too? Do you HAVE to do something wrong to be worthy of sticking around?

After giving up his immunity necklace at tribal council, Brandon went on to suggest that Albert could maybe give it back to him because he wasn’t safe after all. Albert wasn’t having any of that. And of course Brandon wasn’t safe at all. Coach dropped him like the Times Square ball at midnight.

Brandon is a mess of a “Survivor” player and I’m glad to be through with his speeches (until Sunday’s final tribal council) but I was on his side this episode when it came to the convo he interrupted between Coach and Albert. Coach got all high-and-mighty as if Brandon was being just like Russell with his “bullying,” but all Brandon did was wisely — for once — ask what Coach and Albert were talking about at camp. They weren’t just talking about jury votes, as Coach said. They were talking about Albert wanting to vote out Sophie and Coach wanting to vote out Brandon.

Brandon — or God — must’ve sensed the danger and sent him over to check what was up. Brandon was right and yet Coach — maybe feeling guilty or boxed into a corner — acted like Brandon was in the wrong to question his integrity.

I'm crossing my fingers for you, Sophie. Maybe it will work as well as praying.

Will Brandon still vote for Coach to win? What about Edna? Edna seemed to feel more betrayed. Probably everyone in the jury will vote for Ozzy if they can, but should they?

Edna and Cochran were also a good third place options, but they were voted out instead. Can’t use ’em anymore.

Someone — anyone — should’ve flushed out Coach’s idol because he’s just going to coast to the end and, in my opinion, he has the strongest argument to win, fake “integrity” and all. I’m a big fan of the strategic game and Coach is the chief orchestrator of this season.

Maybe “South Pacific” was filmed concurrent to “Redemption Island” and they didn’t see how Boston Rob did it, but Coach is basically the Robfather 2.0. He owned his tribe and had them convinced he was untouchable — I don’t even think they ever WANTED to get rid of him. They fought with each other instead of planning to get him out.

Ozzy? Ozzy could easily win. People love Ozzy. I really don’t know why. I think Coach should win over him. Ozzy’s argument seems to be that he’s sitting out all the office politics over there on Redemption Island and just using each challenge to win his way back in, without making any enemies. But he’s basically been sitting out for most of the game. He missed all the stuff that makes “Survivor” “Survivor.”

If Ozzy wins I won’t be ticked off, but I think Coach deserves it more. He’s had to hustle out there, while retaining total mind control over his alliance. His tribe dominated. He’s won immunity while having his own “secret” idol on the side. He convinced Cochran to turn on his own kind. Cochran, as a serious “Survivor” gamer, should admire that strategy and reward it with a win.

Having said all of that, I hope if there is a 24th season that they don’t keep bringing back all-stars. Rob, Coach and Ozzy are showing that it’s too easy for them to dominate their tribes and use their experience and leadership roles to get to the end. It’s not fair. Better to do all veterans, all newbies or half and half like “Fans vs. Favorites.” But not two tribal leaders.


Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this archive.

You didn't just look ridiculous this week, Savaii. Here's Keith Tollefson, Dawn Meehan, Ozzy Lusth, Whitney Duncan, Jim Rice and John Cochran, of the Savaii Tribe during the immunity and reward challenge.

In the vote between “stupid” and “iconic,” Ozzy’s decision to 1) give his immunity idol to the guy who lost his tribe’s most important challenge, then 2) send himself to Redemption Island so his ego could grow even bigger — my vote goes to “stupid.”

I don’t care that Ozzy had a very special dream about redemption. I wouldn’t even care if Phillip Sheppard’s grandfather appeared to him in a vision and told him to go to Redemption Island and share the crispy rice. It was a dumb move.

*UPDATE* Ozzy pulled it off. He won the duel in time to re-enter the game at the merge. God, his ego is going to explode now! *END UPDATE*

But that’s just what happened on the “Survivor: South Pacific” episode “Trojan Horse.” Christine Sheilds Markoski is kicking butt over on Redemption Island and the Savaiis are under the mistaken impression that if the tribes merge the next day, Christine will immediately run back into the welcoming arms of the Upolus who voted her out to begin with. That would give Upolo the majority and they could just pick off the Savaiis. As if that’s the way it always goes every season.

One thing challenge-ruining Cochran could’ve done to help the Savaiis would be to go to Redemption Island, convince Christine to switch to Savaii if she won and then no matter what happened his old tribe would get one extra member. She’s basically a free agent at this point. But Ozzy — who previously declared himself the free agent — is unlikely to do anything but grandstand on Redemption, then either win or lose the challenge.

Go, Christine, go!

As Jeff Probst pointed out, if Ozzy loses the Redemption Island challenge to Christine, he’ll look like even more of a fool than he did on “Fans vs. Favorites” when he was voted out with an idol in his pocket. I would take it a step further — he already looks like more of a fool. Because he handed the idol to Cochran, who should’ve gone to Redemption and instead has Ozzy’s idol.

There’s no real reason to think Ozzy will win the duel over Christine. That’s just his ego talking out of his tushie. Christine has proven herself to be very adept on that “island” and the challenge could be right up her alley. Remember last season when Andrea won the last Redemption challenge over all the other guys? You never know.

But not only is Ozzy assuming he’ll win, he’s assuming the merge is the next day. And they told Jeff about it. If I were Jeff — one of the producers — I’d go back to my producing team and say “Come on in, guys!” (Just for fun) Then say “How about we teach Ozzy the lesson he should’ve learned last time and delay the merge. They think they know this game? They think we’re predictable? Suck it.”

What if Ozzy loses? Does Cochran get to keep the idol? His speech about not wanting to be the hero should’ve been a warning that this guy isn’t going to give up The One Ring of Power so easily. He’s a nerd, but he’s not Frodo.

However, if I were anyone on Savaii — not just Cochran — I’d be laughing my ass off. The biggest threat on your tribe just volunteered to leave and he gave up his idol, all assuming there’s a merge coming and he’ll be back the next day. Well, that’s exactly when you WANT to dump your biggest physical threats. Thank you, Ozzy. Why would they want him to come back when it’s an individual game? So he can win and win and win his way to the end — like Boston Rob? Is he the Ozfather? Better to have Christine come back on their side. She doesn’t get along with her old tribe and there’s little chance anyone would vote for her to win if she got to the end.

And really, Coach? “Jack and Jill” had a great family message that applies to your tribe? Nice try. I wish Coach and Ozzy were at Redemption together so they could drive each other crazy with their speeches.


Catch up on my very incomplete group of “Survivor” stories in this archive.

Brandon has a serious hero/villain complex and I don't want to deal with it. He needs to stop blaming pretty girls for being pretty while he's a married "man of God." That's his problem. Not theirs.

This is how women end up in burqas.

“Survivor: South Pacific” player Mikayla Wingle is an attractive, confident 22-year-old girl with a hot body and major athletic chops. That’s a problem for Brandon Hantz, a married 19-year-old who apparently blames her for the fact that she’s scantily clad— On a beach! On Survivor! In the South Pacific! The nerve! — flirtatious and proud of her body. He doesn’t trust her. Because he doesn’t trust himself.

The name of the second episode was “He Has Demons” and that’s how Coach tried to explain Brandon’s extreme discomfort around Mikayla. Apparently he was naughty in the past and he wants Mikayla gone so he won’t be tempted again. Or something.

Brandon calls MikaylaParvati” and means it as a serious diss. But don’t get him wrong! He doesn’t want people to think he’s like his uncle Russell Hantz, whose name will undoubtedly come up every single episode, thanks to the kid who doesn’t want to be linked to him. He wants to redeem the family name. Right after he lies to Coach, insults women and somehow decides Parvati screwed a lot of guys just because she played smart social and strategic games. (Russell is the one who screwed Parv out of the H&V win. She went down with his ship.)

At least Brandon came clean at the tribal council — admitting that he lied to Coach when he said Christine and Stacey were going to vote for Mikayla — but … what’s his issue? Is it just genetic or has he spent way too much time with Russell and he just can’t help himself?

It just shows that people have to be careful what they say in this game. Episode 2 and Brandon is already pegged as a liar — and a fool for going after one of the strongest members of his tribe. (The women gave the men a head start in the immunity challenge; the guys are the ones who screwed that up.)

And Christine? Christine was a victim of her own mouth on the premiere, saying Coach and Ozzy were temporary players. For a lot of veterans that would mean nothing, but Coach’s ego is wafer thin and he never forgets any slight — real or perceived. She had to go. But having Christine voted to Redemption Island doesn’t make me too confident in these spoilers.

Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this archive.

Here are Dawn, Albert and Whitney, one list's final 3. True? False? Way too early to say.

*Update* Read my live finale blog here.

Bless them for trying, but they’re already on shaky ground. The whole Redemption Island twist makes “Survivor” spoilers harder than ever, but arc168 jumped head-first into the fray on the Spoilers Sucks board and released this “Survivor: South Pacific” boot list on Aug. 26:

Out before MERGE:

JOHN COCHRAN re-enters the game at merge
MARK CARUSO med-evac right after merge (at camp im told)

Out AFTER merge (Upolu “pagonging”):

ALBERT DESTRADE re-enters the game at F5


Albert/Dawn/Whitney FINAL THREE.

Semhar just left (to go to Redemption Island) on the premiere and Rick is doing fine. So ... already wrong?


The same poster added these teasers:

-A male tries to oust Ozzy early but it backfires bigtime
-A male dominates redemption island similarly to Matt last season
-One of the girls uses the flirt card 10x more than Parvati ever did
-There is one medevac near the merge

-For Coach’s fans out there, you will probably be satisfied with his placement
-One of the older women plays a very aggressive, strategic game while maintaining a “motherly” image kind of like Tina. I think she will be a new Sucks favorite. [Guess: Dawn?]
-A male is idoled out of the game shortly following the merge. maybe one of the better blindsides in recent seasons? Very possibly.


But Semhar was just voted out on the Sept. 14 premiere, not Rick. It sounded like the poster was definitive about it being Rick as the first boot, not the first Redemption boot. Still, there’s a good chance we can read this as Rick being the first *official* boot if he is voted out next week and Semhar beats him at the duel.

If that final 3 is accurate, would Albert get a win for actually using the Redemption Island twist for redemption?

Get to know the full cast here. I’m rooting for John — excuse me — “Cochran.” He’s a charmer!


Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this nifty archive.

Rob tweeted this pic of himself with Ashley, Andrea, Natalie and Phillip. Rob labeled this "Ometepe," but where's Grant? Is this a hint of some kind?

By Gina Carbone

“Survivor: Redemption Island” had so much potential.

I thought it started strong, with a cast that looked like they might actually play the game instead of voting out anyone who considered adopting a “strategy.” (Yep, I’m dissing you, “Survivor: Nicaragua”!)

But right around the time Boston Rob took control of his cult, and Ometepe began demolishing Zapatera, the game started to lose steam. (It also started turning into “The Religious Season.”)

Another Rob twitpic from the finale.

Now there’s almost no way for Season 22 to redeem itself. If Rob wins, the whole season will feel like How CBS Got Rob To Win Survivor After Four Attempts, with the other fools cast just for the purpose of helping him.

But if he doesn’t win, there’s no one else who would be a satisfying victory. Maybe maybe maybe Grant Mattos, because he was Rob’s right-hand man. But even Grant was a drone. And Matt Elrod is sweet, but he’s a terrible “Survivor” player. Mike Chiesl wasn’t shown in the game enough. Phillip Sheppard may or may not be playing up his craziness, but he accused Steve Wright of being a racist for calling him “crazy,” and he certainly shouldn’t win after that. Even Russell Hantz probably wouldn’t do that to win … probably.

I still have my money on either Andrea Boehlke or Ashley Underwood. I’m wondering if the Ometepe photo that Rob tweeted (above), showing some kind of Ashley dark hair makeover, is indicative of her win. Only a girl would think that, but now I’m wondering…She’s also tweeting up a storm for people to not miss the finale tonight. Am I reading too much into it? Or is she the new Jud “Fabio” Birza?

*UPDATE* Nope! Neither one won! The spoilers this season were all over the place. One said Ashley aligned with Rob and outlasted him. *END UPDATE*

Anyway, I’ll be live blogging the finale from 8 to 10 p.m. tonight Eastern time, plus the reunion from 10 to 11.

Look at Matt's hair! The Jesus length is gone!

These 8 folks are still in it to win it going into the finale:

* “Boston Rob” Rob Mariano
* Phillip Sheppard, 52, Santa Monica; technology executive
* Natalie Tenerelli, 19, Acton, Calif.; professional dancer
* Ashley Underwood, 25, Benton, Maine; nurse
* Andrea Boehlke, 21, Random Lake, Wis.; student  (On Redemption Island)
* Matt Elrod, 22, Nashville; pre-med student  (On Redemption Island)
* Grant Mattos, 29, West Hollywood; former NFLer, yoga instructor  (On Redemption Island)
* Mike Chiesl, 31, Del Mar, Calif.; former Marine (On Redemption Island)

While you wait, check out my archive of “Survivor” recaps and “spoilers,” although I don’t really trust the few spoilers they’d had for this season. (Update: The spoilers sucked! Congrats to CBS for keeping the Rob win a secret. Nicely done. I hate you, but nicely done.)


****** LIVE BLOG STARTS! ******

8 p.m.: Recap of everything up to this point. How one year ago Rob challenged Russell at the “Heroes vs. Villains” finale. Review of who is left. They make a special point to say Ashley is a nurse and lately has been a threat in challenges. Lots on Matt at God’s island. Good vs. Evil when Matt took on Russell, etc. Blindsiding Matt twice to send him to RI. Mike and Matt on winning streak at RI. Grant trusted Rob wholeheartedly. Is it fair that Rob is playing his best game, on his fourth attempt, and he could beat someone who is just playing for the first time? Rob got his ass kicked the first time he played. Can Phillip make a play for a win by convincing everyone he was faking craziness to be the villain. NO! You shouldn’t be able to call someone a racist and call yourself the “n-word” and then get rewarded a million dollars.

Final duel on Redemption Island.

8:11 p.m.: Grant heads to Redemption Island. “Somebody wasn’t being honest.” He’s not sure if it was Rob or Phillip, but he’s “A-OK” with it. Grant is the person Andrea least wanted to see there, since she’s now surrounded by major challenge winners. Also hotties! Lucky girl. Rob says “it stings a little bit” to lose Grant, because he was a friend. “I got a heart in there somewhere.” Rob says Grant is the only person who could be “redeemed” that Rob might want to vote out again. He wants to get rid of Ashley. Bad. She’s got to go, he says. He has a feeling about her. Premonition?

8:14 p.m.: At Redemption Island. Matt is happy now and at peace on his island. They have their final duel. They have to “dig deep.” One person will go back in the game. Mike will actually miss RI after 14 days out there. He even calls it “Purgatory.” They all pray. This is God’s favorite season of “Survivor.” Matt has only been in the actual game for 7 days?! If he wins, God gets the glory. So God is going to win “Survivor.” It’s kind of a balancing challenge. You have to keep your foot on a platform with a vase on the end. Go Andrea!

Andrea wins! Everyone else heads to the jury.

Grant is out first. Then MATT IS OUT. God did not want Matt to win. God wants Matt to vote in a winner!

It’s Mike vs. Andrea. GO ANDREA, GO! I KNEW IT! At least one of the spoilers was right!

8:22 p.m.: The duel is over and one at a time, Jeff Probst has Grant, Matt and Mike take off their buffs and head to Ponderosa, aka the jury spot.

8:24 p.m.: Rob declares that Ashley has played the game the best. (SINCE WHEN?) So unless she wins immunity (cue foreshadowing!), she will be voted out next.

Seriously, though. Just because Ashley won immunity last week, the only time she needed to, how is that playing better than everyone else? She hasn’t done anything else all season.

Immunity challenge. They have to get across a balance beam and bring several bags over to put together a bunch of numbers in order.

8:28 p.m.: Andrea said it was “awkward” to come back into camp. No one was that happy to see her. She’ll try anything to stay around, though, otherwise she feels like she’ll be the next one to go. Andrea tells Ashley that Ralph said he would vote for Phillip. Not true. She’s planting “seeds,” aka “lies.” Ashley wants them to vote off Phillip and Natalie says “yeah.” As if she knows. Ashley tells Natalie “You can’t trust Rob so much.” FINALLY. Rob tells Phillip that Ashley thinks she’s the mastermind. Rob is worried about three girls together. “Ashley drives me nuts.” He doesn’t like to see “someone corrupt my soldier,” aka Natalie. Pot meet kettle. Rob should worry that he only has Phillip to talk to. That’s a bad sign.

8:31 p.m.: Immunity challenge. Balance beam and numbers puzzle. Is Ashley going to be the new Fabio? She’s in the lead in this challenge. Phillip fell way behind. It was down to Ashley way in the lead, then Andrea and Rob. ASHLEY WINS IMMUNITY! Second in a row. So she has her spot in the final four. Uh-oh. Is my girl Andrea toast?

8:37 p.m.: Is it too late for Rob to use his hidden idol? If so, get rid of him! That’s what Andrea wants. She wants the girls to see this as an opportunity. If she tells that to Natalie, won’t Nat just tell Rob?

8:41 p.m.: Ashley is so excited she won, even if she wishes this were tomorrow’s win going into the finale. Rob says Andrea is going next. Rob says Andrea has worked hard at camp and she has friends on the other side, so it’s a “no brainer” to get rid of her.

This is the last time Rob can use his idol, but he says he doesn’t need to use it. FAMOUS LAST WORDS.

Ashley talks to Natalie saying, if it’s Andrea now, don’t make it her (Ashley) next. Nat promises 100 percent that she will vote Phillip next, not Ashley. Nice move, Ashley…

So Phillip goes into special agent mode and tells Rob. Right in front of Andrea. That Nat and Ashley were talking. So Rob takes Phillip for a walk.

Final five at Tribal Council.

8:44 p.m. While Phillip is chewing Rob’s ear off about the obvious, Andrea makes her pitch to the girls that she wouldn’t want to be up against Rob in the finals. “It makes a lot more sense to get rid of one of them,” Andrea says of Rob and Phillip. Natalie finally realizes that going up against Rob, she probably wouldn’t win. DUH! Ashley and Nat talk about how it could be the top three girls in the finals. Rob says he doesn’t need the idol — as long as he has Natalie — and he could take it home as a souvenir. He loves to gamble. “God I’m sick!”

8:47 p.m. First Tribal Council. Phillip babbles. Andrea makes a big pitch for the women to finally make a move in this game. Ashley says who wouldn’t want to take out Boston Rob.

Jeff makes his this is the last time you can use the hidden idol speech.

Rob does use his idol! His mother always told him better be safe than sorry. So he made it. Damn it.

Andrea voted out! She didn’t win. And the girls helped to vote her out. No attempt at a big move. Alas. Final four: Rob, Ashley, Natalie, Phillip.

Remember the maze at the end of "Heroes vs. Villains"?

Andrea should’ve shut her mouth at Trial Council about voting out Rob. Maybe that’s what prompted him to play the idol.

8:57 p.m.: Phillip said he didn’t know Rob had an idol but he suspected it. He said Rob played that brilliantly. Just hand him the money now, you morons.

9 p.m. We’re already at the second and final immunity challenge! It’s a giant maze challenge involving puzzle pieces. They love puzzle challenges and Rob. Remember all the easy challenges last season that Fabio won? Balancing coins in a sword? Please. Natalie is useless at these challenges but Jeff calls her a “good sport” as if she’s a slow 4-year-old girl. What’s sad is, she’s a lock for the finals.

ROB WINS! Rob made the final three. So … he wins, right? Or is he following in his own “All Stars” footsteps? Is he Rob 1.0/aka Russell 1.0?

Seriously, though. Is it fair to let him perfect his game four times and have him play on an "equal" playing field against newbies — especially when many of the newbies seem recruited instead of the "Survivor" fans who fight season after season to play? It's like a pro baseball player taking on the Little League.

Rob cries and tells the camera Amber inspired him. Whatever happens now, he’s OK with it. Even if he doesn’t win.

9:11 p.m.: Rob wants to make sure Phillip and Ashley both feel comfortable, like they won’t be voted out. But in order to blindside Ashley, he needs Natalie’s help.

Oh my God. What if the final three are Rob, Phillip and Natalie? Is there a way anyone could NOT vote for Rob? I’m ant-Rob winning at this point — even though nothing else makes sense — but at this point only Ashley is worth voting for. Even though she was a lazy bathing beauty, she still won challenges, played a good social game and didn’t tick people off.

Go Ashley!

9:16 p.m. Natalie is torn on what to do. She didn’t expect to make a friend, but she did. (Funny. Everyone made fun of Nat & Ash for sunbathing all day and tweezing each other’s arm hair, but it turned out to be a good strategy.)

9:17 p.m.: Tribal Council. Rob says ultimately you want to sit next to people you think you can beat. But he’s been here before and it didn’t work out. (Except he found love and married the winner.) Natalie sounds like a 2-year-old. Phillip says “Rob knows I was the specialist.” Lord. Why is Jeff having everyone make their pitches to Rob as if he’s the only one with a vote? Natalie is the real swing vote, not Rob. We know what Rob will do.

Here's the final 3. And here's my vomit.

Jeff, please stop pimping Rob. Please. Please. Please!

Ashley knows she has a better shot to win than Phillip and Nat.

Who is voted out? Ashley. Damn it! Does Nat think she has a shot at winning?


I’m disgusted. But I have to hand it to Rob — sitting next to Natalie and Phillip is the best possible position anyone could hope for in this game. Ideal. If he doesn’t win, it’s time to kill the jury.

9:27 p.m.: There’s still more pimping of Phillip and his feather. And his dead great-great-whatever-grandfather. I refuse to forget about how he treated Steve for calling him “crazy.” He’s not an adorable eccentric. He’s an ass.

9:28 p.m.: The feast. Natalie is 19. Does she really stand for her generation? I feel sorry for her generation, if that’s true. Even Fabio did more last season, at age 21. She could win? Good Lord! She did NOTHING. NOTHING. At least Natalie White on “Samoa” killed a rat and helped convince the other tribe to vote out Erik. Huge move. She also made tons of friends, whereas this Natalie irritated her own tribe for sitting around with Ashley. Not the same.

9:32 p.m.: Final Tribal Council. Phillip is wearing his effing feather! Is he going to try to convince everyone that he ISN’T crazy in that get-up?

The jury, as observed from the vantage point of the final 3. I think I hate this season, no matter how this is now resolved.

Natalie admits that her strength in the game was her social skills. She stuck with Boston Rob. She was loyal. She would be the youngest winner if they vote for her. Ugh.

Phillip said when Boston Rob came into the game, he had to change his strategy. Phillip thanks Rob, saying he wouldn’t be there without him. Phillip says he implemented the concept of “stealth.”

This is embarrassing.

Phillip said Rob’s real name is “The Mastermind” and Phillip’s own goal was to carry out the plans. He also spoke about his loyalty to Rob.


Rob has spent one-third of his life playing Survivor. 117 days or something? He makes a politician’s speech. It’s not up to him, it’s up to them, he says. At least he didn’t pledge loyalty to himself, the way the others did.

Love the crashing thunder and lightning. And by “love” I mean “eye roll.”

• Andrea told Phillip “You are weird.” She said they have seen a plethora of Phillips. Who is the real Phillip Sheppard? He can’t answer it. He must be working for Rob. Andrea told Natalie she has an almost borderline creepy relationship with Rob. What is it about Rob and the allure of riding coattails? Natalie’s answer is making me physically ill. Andrea doesn’t even ask Rob anything.

• Ashley said she’s sick of hearing Phillip’s voice so she won’t ask him anything. He’s acting like a child. Even younger than Natalie. Oh Phillip has no shot. Ashley knocks Phillip and he calls her a whiny child. Ashley tells Natalie they shared everything. Except Natalie didn’t tell her she would be going home. Ashley said obviously Rob deceived a lot of people and that’s sad because she put him on a pedestal. She doesn’t know who he is and after this she’s not sure she wants to know.

Wow, this Tribal is ugly and sad. No one deserves to win.

• Grant tells Nat he also had an alliance with Rob. He wants to know more about Nat’s deal with Rob. Nat says Rob came to her in the beginning and she felt like she could trust him. Rob said Natalie came up to him and said “Tell me what to do.” He said if she did what he said, he would take her to the end. They both gush over Grant and how he was such a big threat.

• Ralph says Natalie can’t do anything without keeping an eye on Rob. Nat didn’t realize everyone thought she was “creepy” toward Rob. She was afraid to make a decision without him, Ralph says. Nat said she wanted her tribe to know she was loyal, ’cause she saw what happened to Matt. Ralph was disappointed that Phillip didn’t have a whole chicken on his head. Ralph asked Phillip if he liked him. (Talk about creepy!) Phillip said yeah, basically.

• Matt called Rob duplicitous and a liar. Where is the line? How can he keep himself together after so much time out there? Rob said the line is gone once he gets back into real life. But in Survivor, he feels it’s necessary to act like this. Rob admits that everyone on Ometepe thought he was taking him to the end. That strategy ALWAYS backfires, though!

• Julie says the final three should be very humble because none of them played a respectable game. Oh yeah! Nat did win the first immunity challenge. Julie wonders if their parents would be proud of the way they played the game. Julie said if Nat were her daughter, she would be ashamed to see her be a servant to Rob the way she is. Phillip has a 16-year-old son? Poor child. Phillip repeats “The hell with you!” to Julie. Julie says Rob is sitting next to the little girl and the guy no one likes or respects.

Phillip is a cartoon.

Julie tells Rob to teach his daughters to grow up to be strong women and not let anyone treat them the way he treated Natalie.


Rob whispers to Nat not to worry, they’ll be all smiles later.

I absolutely love "Survivor" but this ending is killing me. I feel so, so, so used.

• Mike asks for what they’ll take with them after this experience. Natalie has never camped before and this experience has given her confidence. Really? Confidence that you can follow a man’s instructions? Rob said he learned that he needs to stop playing games. (But he’s going to go on another reality TV show! So he’s NOT going to stay home and take care of his wife and kids.) Phillip learned that he can stand on his own and be by himself. “I am a beacon in the Sheppard family.”

I’m sick.

• Steve commends Natalie for however she played the game. Vomit. He also takes his hat off to Rob. Lots of ass-kissing. But Steve tells Phillip “I’m sorry for you.” “I think you’re a pretty shameful, sorry man.” There’s no way Phillip is winning.

• David says “And now for something completely different.” He doesn’t talk to the final three. He talks to the jury. He says there’s only one logical decision here. It has to be Rob. “He controlled all of you.” It was “a little ruthless, but brilliant.” He gushes over how two guys came into this game, one said he was the best to ever play this game (Russell) and the other (Rob) just played the best strategic game anyone has ever seen.

Is it coincidence that David got to make that speech as the last speech?

I may not even be able to watch the reunion. Sorry, this isn’t fair. It’s a slaughter. Or it should be, since there’s no second option. And it’s the kind of slaughter Rob could never have managed on “Survivor: Marquesas,” where he was the seventh voted out. You know who was the seventh voted out on “Redemption Island”? Sarita.

10 p.m.: The vote.

David votes for Rob.

Final 3 live in New York.

Ralph votes for Phillip????

That’s all we see.

10:02 p.m.: LIVE SHOW & REUNION

1st vote: Rob

2nd vote: Phillip

3rd vote: Rob

4th vote: Rob

5th vote: Rob

The winner of “Survivor: Redemption Island”: Rob

The reunion so far has been all about Rob. Gushing about Rob. Rob is so brilliant. I actually wanted Rob to win in the end — he was the only logical choice and he DID play a brilliant game — but this is sickening.

Grant is not happy with Rob. That might explain why he wasn’t in the pics. I love Grant. He thinks saying “it’s a game” is a cop out. So Rob lost a friend. But he gained a million bucks. And another reality TV show. On The History Channel, which has “Survivor” vet Colby Donaldson as the host of “Top Shot.” Do CBS and History have a deal?

Jeff gushes over his boyfriend, saying Rob just played about as perfect a game as you can. Sure. He had four shots. Let Parvati Shallow play a fourth time and show them all how it’s done. Let Sandra Diaz-Twine win a third time.

Russell looks pissed!

Andrea and Matt live in different parts of the country and aren’t dating. Mike was shown in his Marine uniform. More Phillip pimping to come.

Jeff talks to Russell about how he cried on the show. He congratulates Rob on playing “an excellent game.” They shake hands. Russell blows off Jeff’s question and says he should be asking the Zapateras, do they regret throwing the challenge? (Say no!) Russell takes on Steve. Poor Steve!

Jeff is now obsessed with Phillip and mistakenly calls Russell “Phillip” before correcting himself. How does Coach feel about this?

Russell is now thinking of going back on his word. He said he wouldn’t do “Survivor” again. Why is Jeff even asking him? He gave spoilers on the past two seasons. “Just keep my number,” he says. So he’ll be back. I don’t know that I will.

Phillip, I don’t love you. He claims he wasn’t going to trade his integrity for a million dollars. I like that the camera cut to Steve. Phillip called himself the n-word and accused Steve of racism, remember?

Phillip then apologizes to Steve, saying “the specialist” never makes mistakes, but he made one in this game. So Phillip did one thing right in this game.

Sprint Player of the Season: It came down to Boston Rob vs. Matt. They took 70-something percent of the vote. It was a 40 to 36 percent vote. The winner of the $100,000 cash prize: Rob Mariano.

God, did you really plan this?

David Murphy is now dating Carolina Eastwood, who was voted out first from “Survivor: Tocantins.” Oh Lord. He goes over to her in the audience and proposes, ala Rob and Amber’s “All Stars” proposal. Carolina: “Survivor loves blindsiding me!” She eventually says yes. He probably should’ve warned her. Did she drop the f-bomb?

Season 23 coming up, “Survivor: South Pacific”: Redemption Island is back next season. Sigh. 16 castaways will be abandoned in the South Pacific. Two more former players will return. Matt will probably be there, right? Phillip? Parvati? Rupert? Coach? I don’t think I can do it.

Catch up on my archive of “Survivor” recaps and other stories.

Andrea, I want it to be you. Unless it's Matt/God. Or Grant/Greek God. Or Rob/Mafia God. But it won't be Rob.

Listen, I’m just spitballing here. The spoilers for “Survivor: Redemption Island” have been sketchy at best. But out of everyone left I’m thinking Andrea Boehlke, 21, of Random Lake, Wisconsin is the best bet to win this puppy.


Nope! Read my finale blog now: East Coast live blog of ‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ finale Sunday, May 15Rob won after all!

*** END UPDATE ***

Boston Rob should win, since he’s dominating the season like a cult leader. But that’s nearly impossible. He does have a hidden idol and the blind loyalty of his tribe, but thankfully only Ashley Underwood and Natalie Tenerelli seem foolish enough to stick with him to the end. And maybe even they aren’t stupid enough to want to sit next to him at the final Tribal Council.

I’m pretty sure Grant Mattos — more like a Greek god every day — crazy Phillip Sheppard and Matt Elrod’s ex-bestie Andrea were just waiting for the Zapateras to go before they turned on Rob. He’s too much of an Obvious Threat in capital letters. The Ometepes needed him to this point, but no longer.

Some of the spoilers have already been wrong, but some of them feel right. In his Survivor Sucks thread, Blackwhale wrote “Natalie Tenerelli fans will be happy to know she’s one of the last two girls standing.” However, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere — probably from Missyae — that she does not win. Blackwhale also wrote “Forgot to mention, Natalie Tenerelli and Ashley Underwood work very well together!” and “Ashley aligns with Rob and then outlasts him.”

Here’s the clincher for my Andrea argument: “Two people are ‘redeemed’ and I believe one is male one is female. One at around the merge and the other at the finale, as you all know from call sheets.”

We saw sweet Matt redeemed around the merge (then sent right back into his Christ complex on Redemption Island) and if a woman is redeemed at the end, I’m thinking it will be Andrea. If not Andrea, then Ashley.

When Missyae gave an early look at this year’s cast, he wrote:

Andrea Boehlke –  “Love this player. Smart, strong, social, got it all. A serious threat.”
Ashley Underwood – “The Total Package, another serious threat.”

I’m starting to think this will come down to Natalie, Ashley and Andrea with Andrea winning. Last night on “A Mystery Package,” Rob originally planned to vote Andrea to Redemption Island because she was getting too close to the Zapateras. That tells me that she would have their votes at the end, over the other two girls, who are essentially proving themselves useless at everything except sunbathing and worshipping Rob.

Now that the former Ometepes have no choice but to eat ther own, chances are they will start with either Andrea or Rob. Since Rob has an idol, I’m thinking it will be Andrea, with Andrea beating Matt, Rob and everyone else when it comes to being redeemed.

That’s what I hope happens, anyway.

Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this archive.

Someone slip some Valium into the crispy rice and give Phillip a scoop.

Anyone who doesn’t think Phillip is crazy is crazy.

Phillip Sheppard has been hijacking “Survivor: Redemption Island” for a while now and it started out as funny in a Coach 2.0 way. But because he’s been given so much leeway by his tribe (who roll their eyes at him behind his back) and the producers just love exploiting him for drama, he’s now shifted from being the amusing rice police to the slandering race police.

I appreciate that at the start of the episode, “Rice Wars,” (should’ve been “Race Wars”) they featured a flashback of first outcast Francesca Hogi calling fellow African-American Phillip “crazy.” That’s important because being called “crazy” by white Steve became a focal point of the episode.

Phillip went off about the rice again, although this time he didn’t target “the crispy” in his wild but entertaining way. He has been going out of his way to emphasize the divisions that still exist between the old Zapatera and Ometepe tribes (forgetting that his old tribemates were all against him not too long ago and they only want to keep him because he’ll get zero votes in the end).

But when Ometepe’s rice was about to spoil, the surviving Zapateras decided not to help them by allowing the Omes to use their rice jars. I wouldn’t allow them to use the jars, either. Boston Rob’s mafia has gone out of their way to ostracize the Zaps. They owe the Ometepe folks nothing.

Steve probably wishes they had sent him to Redemption Island instead of David ... and Julie. Thats the safest place at this point.

Phillip went on and on to Steve and Julie about how it wasn’t logical to not let Ometepe use their rice jar. He got very Phillip about it, which is to say he started rambling and getting heated. Steve called him a “lunatic” and Phillip initially agreed as he walked away. Then he returned and said anytime someone of his color makes an argument to someone like Steve, the Steves of the world come back and call the Phillips “Crazy.” It would be a point worth looking into if Phillip hadn’t been crazy to everyone FROM DAY ONE.

Tonight he called himself “chief of counter intelligence,” in addition to being a federal agent. He also called himself the n-word and told the cameras “I’m like a lot of black men, we’re prepared to self-destruct at any moment.”

But it’s perfectly fine for him to say that?

I can’t speak for any black men, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be lumped into the same category as Phillip. And, buddy, please don’t speak for women when it comes to making analogies between understanding racism and understanding when a man makes an inappropriate pass at a woman.

As Steve said of Phillip: “It’s not a chip, it’s a log on his shoulder.” Steve also said he played football with the L.A. Raiders where 1/5 of the team was white. “There’s no line of black and white in my heart.”

I miss the part of “Survivor” where they actually play “Survivor” out there instead of therapy. I’m done with Phillip.

Matt and Mike won the Redemption Island three-way, making David the first jury member. I thought David would go farther in the game.

Rob won immunity in the series of puzzles (he’s always been good at puzzles) and Julie was sent to Redemption Island. Julie also hid Phillip’s shorts. Messing with people’s clothes is always nasty, but I’ve been following Jeff Probst’s tweets and it’s pretty clear he’ll do anything to defend Phillip. He tweeted it was “downright cold blooded” to bury the shorts, but Jeff worships Russell Hantz, who pulled that move with Jaison’s socks back when they were still on the same tribe in “Samoa.”

I feel sorry for Matt, whose faith seems to be tested out there. I thought I was tired of Matt’s talk about how God is his co-pilot or whatnot, but I’ll take that over Phillip’s ranting any day. Religion is sensitive but race is even more sensitive and there’s no way to “win” an argument when you’re just talking about people’s feelings. Phillip clearly felt affronted by Steve using the c-word in particular.

I feel most sorry for Steve, because everyone out there has called Phillip crazy at least once, or at least thought it. Except maybe Matt. Matt has spent the game away from everyone else, which — it turns out — was God’s true blessing.


Catch up on my “Survivor” stories in this archive.

These people are playing the game:

Ometepe Tribe

* Grant Mattos, 29, West Hollywood; former NFLer, yoga instructor
* Phillip Sheppard, 52, Santa Monica; technology executive
* Natalie Tenerelli, 19, Acton, Calif.; professional dancer
* Ashley Underwood, 25, Benton, Maine; nurse
* Andrea Boehlke, 21, Random Lake, Wis.; student
* “Boston Rob” Rob Mariano
* Francesca Hogi, 36, Washington D.C.; attorney— 1st sent to Redemption Island
* Matt Elrod, 22, Nashville; pre-med student — 2nd sent to Redemption Island, first to be “redeemed,” 8th sent to Redemption Island
* Kristina Kell, 46, Malibu; law student — 4th sent to Redemption Island

Zapatera Tribe

* Ralph Kiser, 44, Lebanon, Va.; farmer
* Steve Wright, 51, Huntington Beach, Calif.; former NFL player
* Russell Hantz — 3rd sent to Redemption Island
* Krista Klumpp, 25, Columbia, S.C.; pharmaceutical rep. — 5th sent to Redemption Island
* Stephanie Valencia, 25, Long Beach, Calif.; waitress — 6th sent to Redemption Island
* Sarita White, 36, Santa Monica; visual effects producer — 7th sent to Redemption Island, aka “Matt’s Island”
* Mike Chiesl, 31, Del Mar, Calif.; former Marine — 9th sent to Redemption Island
* David Murphy, 31, West Hollywood; defense attorney — 10th sent to Redemption Island, 1st Jury Member
Julie Wolfe, 50, Oceanside, Calif.; firefighter — 11th sent to Redemption Island

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