On Survivor: Redemption Island this week, Matt won his fourth duel, keeping him in the game. He was originally voted out in week two, but because of his prowess at challenges, he’s still in this fight. It would seem at some point he won’t be able to keep up with that streak, but if the two tribes keep sending the weaker tribe members to Redemption Island, he will.
To producer Mark Burnett’s credit, the game changes up every few seasons and keeps itself alive after twenty-two seasons. In the latest change made for Survivor: Redemption Island, when contestants are voted out of the game, they’re not really completely gone until they lose the duel. Arriving on Redemption Island, they have a duel with the person residing there, and whoever wins, stays on the island, while the loser goes home.
While this change hasn’t affected the game yet, it will. Right now, the tribes are still voting players out based on a desire for them to leave the game immediately. With many of them getting a chance now to see what happens on Redemption Island from spectator seats at the duel, they should now be changing up that strategy and thinking long term. They need to not just think about who they want gone, but who they want to go fight in the duel.
Host Jeff Probst hasn’t even laid out the terms of Redemption Island completely yet, to the contestants or the viewers. No one knows at what point the eventual Redemption Island champion will get back in the game. Right now everyone is sending who they see as the weaker females to the island, or whoever is irritating them as in the case of Russell Hantz. They just can’t match up evenly with Matt. He’s winning every challenge soundly.
Matt was voted there because of Rob’s desire to break up him and Andrea. Rob knows how strong those budding romances can be after he and future wife Amber came in first and second place in the first All-Stars. Even if Matt comes back in the game, Rob broke up that alliance. Andrea saw Matt again this week and saw his easy connection to Krista, and realized maybe she wasn’t as special to him as she thought.
If the Redemption Island survivor comes back into the game after or at the point of the merge, and it ends up being Matt, he’s carrying some serious mojo in there with him. A guy knowing he beat several people one-on-one in challenges is not the guy they want brought back into the game.
The contestants should be thinking ahead to that point. They should be sending someone to Redemption Island who they think can destroy Matt. Sending the weaker players just isn’t going to get it done. Boston Rob’s reasoning for keeping Phillip has been sound so far, but he’s not seeing the total picture.
Rob could send Phillip to the Redemption Island as a person who could possibly beat Matt. If he doesn’t, he’s gone; if he does, then Rob only has to worry about him coming back in the game, and he knows Phillip doesn’t have any alliance to get back with, while Matt does. Rob knows he can take care of Phillip after the merge. The longer Matt sits at Redemption Island, the stronger he gets, and the less of a chance there is to eliminate him.
This goes for the other tribe as well, who now seem to be imploding after they threw the one challenge to get rid of Russell. Their choices this week for who to send to Redemption Island were Stephanie and Sarita. Sarita is loyal, but can’t compete physically, and Stephanie isn’t afraid to compete, but so far hasn’t been able to put her money where her mouth is.
A better choice would have been Dave. Sarita doesn’t like him and made that clear last week. He has a rap of being really good in puzzles, but they think he sometimes folds under pressure. He’d be the perfect choice to go up against Matt on Redemption Island. If he loses, they got rid of someone who could have won some later immunity challenges against them. If he wins, they get rid of Matt and only have to worry about someone they don’t feel is as strong. Sarita chose not to fight to save herself, and stayed, but could have used that to turn against Dave again.
Because Rob is so busy strategizing about the immunity idol, he hasn’t gotten to that point yet. Yet like most new elements that get thrown into Survivor, people will begin to develop strategies around it if it stays past this season, just like they have learned to do with the hidden immunity idol. If Matt ends up getting back into the game at some point, we might see those new strategies sooner rather than later.
For more on Survivor: Redemption Island, see SirLinksalot.