This Week in Survivor History

Previously on This Week in Survivor History… The Barramundi tribe traded their shelter for rice, Cochran began his metamorphosis into a challenge beast, and Boston Rob made Lex an offer he couldn’t refuse.  Six years later, Boston Rob was slayed on Heroes vs. Villains and future pop star Lisi Linares didn’t have more than one person to vote with her in Fiji.  Read on to find out what happened… This Week in Survivor History!  Trust me, this week is HUGE; we needed this…


April 12th, 2001 (13 years ago this Saturday)

Colby-Donaldson_l A flag for rice.[/caption]

If you remember from last week, the Barramundi tribe of Survivor: The Australian Outback traded their tarp and Colby Donaldson’s Texan flag for enough rice to last them throughout the remainder of the game.  Unfortunately, running out of food in the previous episode was only the first event of this season that proved to viewers the reality of the Survivor experience.  After the reward challenge, the Survivors minus Colby (who won the reward and was therefore out drinking beer with his buddy Probst) came home to a completely flooded camp.  Not only were all their belongings soaking wet, but the rice they had gotten for giving up their shelter was gone.  They correctly assumed that it had been washed away by the flood and taken by the nearby creek.  With Colby gone, Tina Wesson took on the role of the provider and went out looking for the rice.  It appeared that the search was in vain, but she finally found the canister trapped under a log in the river.  She swam out and was able to recover her tribe’s food.

Tina played a fantastic social and strategic game on her first season, and maybe didn’t even need this heroic action in order to win; however, it’s possible that Colby would have received one more vote than she did in the final tribal council if he had been the one to save the rice.  I would imagine that something this dramatic could be one of those things that sways the mind of jurors.


April 8th, 2004 (10 years ago this Tuesday)

boston rob lex

Promises, promises.

This memorable moment in Survivor history is another continuation from last week.  Boston Rob had made his famous promise to Lex van den Berghe, his friend from outside the game, that he would take care of him after the merge if he didn’t vote out Amber Brkich.  Lex kept his end of the deal, but Boston Rob had other ideas.  In a confessional, Rob said that it’s all a game and that he’s been playing it since the moment it started.  After they merged in this episode, Lex sensed that he had made a mistake by trusting his friend, and along with Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien, confronted Rob.

In a move typically not seen any more due to the presence of hidden immunity idols, Boston Rob told Lex straight out before tribal council that he’d be sticking with his own alliance, thus breaking the deal.  Lex was lost for words, thinking that their pre-game friendship would trump any other agreements that Rob had made.  In an emotional scene, an angry Lex let Rob know how betrayed he felt and Kathy was brought to tears.  Of course Kathy also had a history with Rob, having played with him in Marquesas.  She summed it up best by saying: “There are no friends in this game.”

Kathy was so upset with Rob that she almost gave her immunity necklace to Lex, but at tribal council decided against it.  Lex was voted out, and apparently hasn’t been friends with Boston Rob since.

While I understand the emotions involved with being betrayed by someone who was a friend before the game started, I have always sided with Boston Rob over Lex on this issue.  Survivor is a game and sometimes you need to make decisions based on strategy over friendship in order to win.  Also, Boston Rob was obviously falling in love with Amber during this season, and while they weren’t married yet, I’m sure his “family first” BR rule came into play.

It’s also interesting to note that Lex basically did the same thing to Ethan Zohn a few weeks earlier.  While he may not have made his ally from Survivor: Africa an explicit deal such as the one that Rob made to him, he still voted out a pre-game friend because he felt it would be better for his game.  I’ve always been a Lex fan based on his strong gameplay in Africa and the fact that he seems like a really cool person, but I’ve never been a fan of players taking the game too personally.


April 10th, 2008 (6 years ago this Thursday)


A stick!

There have been some really well-made fake hidden immunity idols in Survivor history.  Yau-Man Chan’s in Fiji and Bob Crowley’s in Gabon especially come to mind; however, Ozzy Lusth’s fake hidden immunity idol that he made while on Exile Island during Survivor: Micronesia was not even close to looking real.  Yeah he put a face on it, BUT IT WAS AN EFFING STICK!  When Jason Siska found it, however, he was somehow fooled.  The Fans tribe on this season wasn’t necessarily known for their Survivor acumen, but I don’t see how Jason actually believed that this was a real idol.

In this episode, Jason tells his alliance member Eliza that he would give her the hidden immunity idol if he won the immunity challenge later that day, which he ended up doing.  Before tribal council, Jason told Eliza that the idol was in her bag, and she was ecstatic until she opened it up and saw what it really was.  She even stormed down the beach to confront Jason, thinking that he was trying to pull one over on her.

They have a really humorous back and forth, with him still genuinely believing that he had found a real idol.  Eliza famously responded that it’s an effing stick with a face on it, wrapped in a napkin.

This could have ended with Jason and Eliza’s exchange, but Eliza actually played the idol at tribal council before the votes were read!  While she knew it was fake, she wanted to out Ozzy for having the real one.  Ozzy had no choice but to come clean, which may have played a part in him getting blindsided at the next tribal council (more on this next week).  When Jeff threw the stick with a face into the fire, Ozzy feigned disappointment saying that he spent a lot of time making it.


April 6th, 2011 (3 years ago this Sunday)

Survivor: Redemption Island

Redemption Island.

Going all the way back to week two of Survivor: Redemption Island, Matt Elrod, deemed too much of a threat by Boston Rob, was voted out.  Week after week he won duel after duel on Redemption Island, and in this episode came back into the game after defeating Sarita White in a long-lasting endurance challenge.

Not to digress too far from why this episode was so memorable, but Phillip Sheppard told such a long story about Japanese warrior culture during the challenge that it was time-lapsed by the editors about four times.  Back to the story of Matt Elrod…

After Sarita exited the arena and the game, Matt was given a black buff and was told that he, the 6 members of Ometepe and the 5 members of Zapatera would be merging.  They were also informed that Redemption Island would still be in play.  Jeff pointed out that Matt could end up right back there after the next tribal council.  Matt seemed to take Jeff’s words as a joke, thinking that he’d probably be the swing vote now that he was back in the game.

After the merge feast, Mike Chiesl came to Matt with a final four agreement, saying that if he stayed with Ometepe, he’d just be 7th out of 7.  He wanted Matt to convince Andrea to switch to their side.  Originally, Matt seemed to like this plan and even came to Andrea that night to get her to flip as well.

Throughout Matt’s time on Redemption Island, he had been given a lot of screen time, even more than some of the people still in the actual game.  His character revolved around his faith, almost becoming a Jesus or Tim Tebow figure searching for redemption.  He continued this while back in the game, starting a bible study group with Mike.  This worried Boston Rob who had a great confessional saying that he doesn’t like when his competitors bond over anything whether it be romantic comedies or Oreo cookies.

In a confessional, Matt ironically claimed that he felt like his God was telling him to go with his heart and stick with Ometepe, even though it wouldn’t be the big Survivor move.  Rob may have saw the religion thing as a threat, but it actually was what made Matt ultimately vote against Zapatera.  On a huge rock in the middle of the ocean, Matt blabbed all of Mike’s plans to Rob including the fact that the Zapatera alliance had an idol.  While Matt was being honest, Rob saw it differently.  He didn’t like that Matt thought about voting him out with Zapatera the day before, and decided he needed to send him back to Redemption Island.  On the same rock and in the area around their camp, he got his troops together and told them that the vote would be for Matt.  They’d get rid of a threat and not even have to worry about the Zapatera idol.

Even after Mike sweetened the deal by telling Matt via handwritten note that he’d take him to the final 3 if he and Andrea flipped to their side, Matt stayed true to God and Boston Rob and voted for Steve Wright at tribal council.  The 5 Zapatera members voted for Grant, and the 6 Ometepes voted out Matt.  Matt was sent right back to Redemption Island, and Ralph Kiser’s idol was burned on Mike.

After the votes were read, nobody summed it up better than David Murphy who called the move genius.  I couldn’t agree more.  After this vote, Rob subsequently Pagonged the Zapateras and went on to win in one of the most dominant games played in Survivor history.  It may never have worked out like that if this decision wasn’t made.

Rob Has A Planet’s very own Josh Wigler put this vote in his top 10 strategic moves in Survivor history, but this episode wasn’t completely dedicated to heavy strategic play.  During the immunity challenge, actually won by Natalie Tenerelli, Jeff Probst said “Matt has one ball hanging on the edge of his disk” and “Mike, no movement at all; it’s like those balls are glued to his disk.”  This wouldn’t be a complete This Week in Survivor History post without mentioning those gems.


Well, that’s all the Survivor History for this week.  Thanks for reading and… HOLD UP, BRO!


April 10th, 2013 (1 year ago this Thursday)

hold up bro

Hold up, bro.

At this tribal council in Survivor: Caramoan, Stealth R Us had the numbers and it seemed  like  huge threats such as Malcolm Freberg or Reynold Toepfer would be going home.  After the votes, Reynold stood up to the play the idol, but Malcolm said, “Hold up, bro” and convinced him to play the idol for Malcolm instead, saying that he knew Stealth R Us would be voting for him.  What made this such a great move was that Malcolm actually had his own idol.  He just figured it would be worth it to try to get Reynold to play his instead.  While that aspect of Malcolm’s plan worked, Stealth R Us anticipated a bigger threat using the idol and instead voted out bastard of Northern Westeros, Michael Snow, who knew nothing of these idol shenanigans.  It’s also important to point out that this move also made Josh Wigler’s top 10 list.


Memorable Firsts:

  • First ever 2 person tribal council.  Stephenie LaGrossa and Bobby Jon Drinkard, the two remaining members of the failed Ulong tribe, compete in a fire making challenge to decide who stays in the game.  Stephanie wins, Bobby Jon goes home, and Stephanie is forced to go back to the Ulong camp alone and stay the night. (April 7th, 2005)
  • Coach constructs his warrior alliance, bringing in JT Thomas and Survivor Know-It-All Stephen Fishbach from the Jalapão tribe. (April 9th, 2009 – Survivor: Tocantins)


Memorable Boots:

  • Amber Brkich voted off her first season. (April 12th, 2001 – Survivor: The Australian Outback)
  • Boston Rob voted out by a majority led by the Rotu 4.  Maybe he and Ambuh developed a chemistry due to being voted out during the same week in Survivor history. (April 11th, 2002 – Survivor: Marquesas)
  • A confident Deena Bennett blindsided by a vote compared to a mob hit by Rob Cesternino.  She was outwitted, in this scenario, but I’ve always considered her one of the most underrated strategists in Survivor history (April 10th, 2003 – Survivor: The Amazon).
  • Despite the merge having already occurred, only half of the cast went to tribal council as part of a twist and Michelle Yi was voted out.  There’s almost no chance she would have been on the chopping block if the whole tribe were voting. (April 12th, 2007 – Survivor: Fiji)
  • Joe Dowdle’s medevac makes him the merge boot. (April 9th, 2009 – Survivor: Tocantins)
  • Coach taken out by the Villains. (April 8th, 2010 – Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains)
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