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Boston Rob Finally Wins Survivor

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In his fourth season as a participant in CBS’ Survivor, Boston Rob Mariano finally became the sole survivor and won one million dollars. As host Jeff Probst put it, it was very nearly as perfect a game as he as ever seen played. And while I am glad Rob won the 22nd edition of Survivor, I am at odds with the season itself.

I have been a Boston Rob fan the whole way, and I agree with Probst. Mariano played it seamlessly. It was a real pleasure watching him strategize, then systematically get every other castaway voted out of  the competition. But that’s also the rub–Rob’s brilliance essentially eliminated any chance for suspense this season. And, for Survivor fans, there is nothing better than a good old-fashioned blindside. And then we go back to this: if you play as well as Rob played, they’re not going to happen. Blindsides happen when the perceived best player or someone so confident in their abilities that they can’t imagine being taken out is shockingly voted off. We’ve had recent seasons that gave us blindsides on a weekly basis–the kind of exciting Survivor moments that really take your breath away. But that never happened in season 22. Rob was so able to mesmerize all of his fellow castaways, that they just dropped like flies. And there is the issue of Jeff Probst. I like Probst as a host, but in recent years, it seems he has amped up his penchant for asking the types of leading questions in tribal council that might cause players to rethink how they originally intended to vote. And it happened throughout this season. I mean, he’s not Svengali; Survivor contestants can think for themselves. But it’s these attempts–that often work, I might add–that create a bit of  a compromise in the play of the game. So it’s a tough call how I really feel about Survivor’s 22nd season, but I’m a huge fan and will return next season when the show heads to the South Pacific. And maybe Jeff will stop with the loaded questions and stick to name, rank, and serial number.

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