'Survivor: Redemption Island': Is Boston Rob Mariano finally crowned soul survivor?

survivor-finale.jpgAfter 39 117 days, "Boston" Rob Mariano was crowned the winner of "Survivor: Redemption Island," the 22nd Season of the popular reality program. The Final 3 came down to Boston Rob, Phillip "Special Agent" Sheppard and Natalie Tenerelli and the final vote was almost unanimous for Rob to win. 

Let's see how we got there. Highlights on the way to the final vote included:

  • There was a final four-way duel at Redemption Island. This one involved balancing a vase with your foot, teeter-totter-style. Grant was out first, followed by Matt (bummer) and Mike, so Andrea won and was allowed to reenter the game.
  • The first Immunity Challenge is a balance beam/ordering tiles challenge. Ashley wins, much to Rob's chagrin.
  • Rob seemed to think it was a foregone conclusion his people would vote Andrea out, but Ashley and Natalie were not wholly on board, which Phillip noticed. He took Rob off and Andrea took her chance to work the girls on getting Rob out.
  • At Tribal, Rob played his Hidden Idol just to be safe, but the girls didn't go with Andrea anyway, so it didn't matter.
  • The final Immunity Challenge was a maze and a fairly tricky word puzzle. Rob and Ashley were neck-and-neck, while Phillip and Natalie fell out contention pretty quickly. Rob won, even though it looked like Ashley should've had it first.
  • Rob was pretty overcome at winning the last immunity, which - did anybody think he wouldn't win the money at this point?
  • Rob convinced Natalie to turn on her friend and they voted out Ashley.
  • Hey, no Fallen Idols filler segment! Woot woot.
  • The final Tribal Council, even with Phillip there to be his crazypants self, was pretty boring. Phillip came right out and said Boston Rob was the mastermind and Phillip's strategy was to be the drone. *headsmack*
  • Rob cited his family as his motivation, which is nice, but also said that he wanted to bring something home to make a better life for them. Um, the Mariano household has plenty of money with all the reality TV they've done (plus Rob has a new deal with History). Let's not act like they need it the same way as, say, Julie did, whose house was being foreclosed on.
  • Phillip was even more alienating than normal, while Natalie really had nothing good to say. This was Boston Rob's money to lose and he did not screw it up, especially since Phillip and Natalie didn't help themselves one iota.
  • David even got up and told the jury to vote for Rob. David was also the only jury member not to be a total a**hole. I hate bitter juries. It's so ugly.
  • David and Ralph were the only votes we saw cast. David's was obviously for Rob, Ralph's was for Phillip, which - Ralph is a moron. Notice how his exit interview never got posted last week? It's because it was too terrible to post. Not even in a funny way. Just terrible.
  • The votes went Rob, Phillip, Rob, Rob, Rob and Rob. Obviously we knew how Ralph voted, but I'm surprised Rob didn't join Earl and J.T. as the only unanimous winners. How you could vote for Phillip or Natalie is beyond me.

So Rob Mariano finally won "Survivor." On the one hand, I'm very happy for him. He deserved this win because he controlled the game with an iron fist and won Immunity when it counted. And it probably really chaps Russell's behind, which is a funny bonus. On the other hand, of course he won. A seasoned veteran against a bunch of first-timers? Not that exciting. Also, it kind of has the feel of "let's get Rob back so he can win one. We'll throw Russell in there for ratings too.

Plus, the Redemption Island twist didn't add that much. Both people who came back into the game were immediately sent packing again, so it was a bit anticlimactic. The one nice thing about it? It took enough time out of the finale episode that we didn't have to sit through the stupid Fallen Contestants montage, which is pretty much the worst thing about the finale episode.

What do you think, "Survivor" fans? 
Photo/Video credit: CBS