Tonight is the season finale of Survivor. I had watched the first seven seasons of Survivor... at that point, I was swamped in good tv shows, and convinced I'd seen everything there was to see in Survivor. But I picked up watching with a friend this season, and now I believe that if you only watch one season of Survivor, this is the one to watch. Here are the three characters that have made it great:
"Boston" Rob - I would have never thought that one man could manipulate this game as masterfully as he has. At one point, he was compared to a cult leader because of the loyalty he had generated amongst his teammates. Some of my favorite Rob moments of the season have been his control over the immunity idols. One of his teammates found a clue and immediately brought it to Rob. Rob told him to go back to camp and meet him in a few minutes... while he ran off, switched the new clue for an older clue to an idol he had already found, and let the wild goose chase begin. Later, his team earned a reward of dinner at the mouth of a volcano, and Rob found another clue in the meal. He used his private interview time to make a show of throwing the clue into the volcano without even reading it. Going into the finale, Rob has the complete confidence of two of the remaining three opponents.... he seems unstoppable, but noone knows yet what the plans are for the four players still on Redemption Island... at least one is coming back.
Phillip - Phillip is whacky. He established that in the first episode when he outted the plans of his own alliance at the first tribal council... the look on Jeff Probst's face was priceless. That feather on his head? It came with a vision from his ancestors. His outfit of choice is a tiny pair of orange underwear that apparently isn't tight enough since CBS frequently has to blur out the bottom. How is he in the final four? He's Rob's "goat". But he recently claimed to the camera that his goal was to be just unlikeable enough to be the guy you want with you at the end, and then he thinks he can talk all the people he rubbed the wrong way into a win. The game never got boring with Phillip around.
Matt - Matt's the "good guy". He's so good that Rob voted him out almost immediately. But he persevered on Redemption Island, and returned at the merge. Matt's so good, that rather than taking the obvious play of swinging the game against Rob on his return, he felt he had to be loyal to the team that voted him off the island. Rob rewarded his loyalty by immediately voting him off again. I laughed my ass off. Matt's survived in the second phase of Redemption Island (spent about 28 days out of 35 there, by my count) along with three others hoping to get back into the game.
Four players still "in the game", four on Redemption Island hoping for a second (or in Matt's case, THIRD) chance. Tonight's going to be good.