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Following a season filled with twists, the finale episode of Survivor: Redemption Island aired tonight as a new winner emerged!

The game began with the final and very anti-climatic Redemption Island challenge. Playing for an opportunity to be voted off again by Rob Mariano were his zombies Andrea, Matt, and Grant alongside Mike. Andrea made it very clear going into the game that she was the “under under dog” so of course the challenge was one that was geared for her she was able to win. It was a challenge which required balance, and after Grant, Matt, and Mike lost balance in that order, Andrea won her shot back into the game.

While it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Rob’s groupies Ashley and Natalie to team up with Andrea and vote off Rob one of the men, they simply failed to use their brains as Rob was able to convince them, quite easily, to vote off Andrea. Rob was so confident in his mind control over his cult members that he even contemplated not playing his idol. Ultimately he did though he didn’t need to as the others voted off Andrea.

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It was then time for the final challenge and with no more idols in the game, the remaining contestants fought hard to secure their spot in the finals. Oh scratch that, Rob and Ashley fought hard to make it to the end while the other two just lounged around. It was a very close game and Rob ultimately pulled out a win, but not before trying to get Ashley, his competitor, to help him out.

Before the final tribal council meeting, Rob instructed his minion Natalie to vote off her BFF Ashley and she easily obliges. With 3 votes against her, Ashley is blindsided and sent to the jury. Oddly enough, this move by Natalie might have been her only best play of the game though it is sad that it was all Rob’s idea.

With Ashley’s elimination, the final 3 is Rob, Phillip, and Natalie. Going back to the first insane tribal council, who would have ever guessed Phillip would be in the finals? At this point in the game, I am most definitely rooting for Boston Rob. Love him or hate him, he played a splendid game, had great control over his cult tribe members and ran a pretty tight ship when it came to giving them orders. And his plan to bring crazy Phillip (not the n-word crazy) to the finals was pretty genius no? Plus he could have easily suffered the fate of Russell Hantz, who most have forgotten was even a part of this season.

Back at camp, Phillip finally decided to get rid of his pink saggy panty underwear by cremating it, and not an episode too soon. Really, why didn’t he do this on the first episode? Oh well, it was then time for the Q & A with the angry jury members so let the games begin! Will the others step up to the plate and finally play the game?

Unfortunately that answer is no. Natalie‘s plea to the jury members is that she deserves to win because she is young and was loyal to Rob. Phillip‘s strategy is to ramp up the crazy by donning a feather on his head and rambling on about nothing. Oh yeah, Phillip also tells the jury members he deserves to win because he was also loyal to Rob. Rob, who isn’t new to this rodeo, gives a great speech. As for the jury questions, they mostly seem to call out Natalie for riding Rob’s coattails, Phillip for being bat sh*t insane, and Rob for being a ruthless player. Phillip proved in this scene that the whole crazy shtick was definitely not an act or strategy but rather his personality. He was argumentative and combative with the people whom he wanted votes from.

The jury casts their votes and off to the NYC live show we go! Natalie earned zero votes, rightfully so, so it was down to Rob and Phillip. For some odd reason, Ralph, who isn’t the brightest bulb, decided to vote for Phillip earning him his lone vote, and just like that, Rob Mariano is the winner of Survivor Redemption Island after only four tries! Rob defeated Phillip and Natalie in an 8-1-0 vote.

TELL US – ARE YOU HAPPY THAT ROB WON? DO YOU THINK HE DESERVED TO WIN? THOUGHTS ON THIS SEASON?

UPDATE - CBS announced during the reunion show that the next season of Survivor (Survivor South Pacific) will premiere in the fall. The new season will also have a redemption island twist as well as the return of two past players. Rob also won $100,000 as the “Sprint Player of the Season”, beating out runner-up Matt Elrod.

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