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Survivor: Redemption Island Episode 6: Outplay, Outlast, and...Out-Duel?

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Written by : published Thursday 24th March 2011

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There’s nothing wrong with Survivor…don’t get me wrong.  Even further,  the game constantly changes and shifts, and adds new twists, which is part of how it has continued to keep us interested after all these years.

But with Redemption Island, have the twists finally twisted our beloved reality show into somewhat of a bizarro-version of Survivor?  Does the motto “Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast” still describe how someone wins Survivor?

Before we reveal potential spoilers from this week’s episode, make sure you are all caught up.  Here’s TheTVKing link to watch the Full Episode 6, and of course be sure to read my Full Survivor Examiner Episode 6 recap as well.

The real verdict on the twist of Redemption Island really can’t be measured until season’s end.  My gut reaction is that I like the new game, and the drama that comes not only from the weekly duel, but from the interaction at the duel.  But I also have to say that I’m not incredibly excited as to how this is all shaking out.

Matt is clearly a likeable “hero” of Survivor, who’s reputation grows with each and every win.  At this point, he will either go down in Survivor history as the biggest non-story (can you imagine if he wins a bunch in a row only to suddenly lose one?), or as one of the best survival stories the show has ever seen.  So kudos to Matt for showing that you still remain in the game even when sent packing at Tribal Council.

But his winning streak has also brought up some uncomfortable truths about this “new” version of Survivor.  Let’s pretend for a minute that Matt continues winning, and re-enters the game.  What if he is then voted right back out?  So then he keeps winning at Redemption and now re-enters the game for the Final 3, as is predicted.  Surely, he’d win the million right?  He’d have the respect of everyone for outlasting them all at Redemption, and would have had little time for backstabbing or pissing anyone off.  He’d be a shoe-in!

But would this scenario alter the show’s motto of “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast”?  It’s the “outwit” part, that I think Redemption Island fails at.  Matt would win in the above scenario, but he wouldn’t have really been playing Survivor…he’d of been playing a physical version of the show where you just win competition after competition to get to the end.  That ain’t right, right?  Yes, as Probst tells him each week, “you’re still in the game,” and this is true…but he’s not in the game as we have come to know it, where “outwit” plays a huge part.  It has now been minimalized to “Outplay, Outlast, and if given the opportunity Outwit.”

Can the Survivor “dream team” incorporate Redemption Island to include more strategy or mental gameplay?  I hope so.  If Matt keeps winning, it’ll leave the wrong message, that there are other routes to the end that don’t involve the 3 words Survivor was built on.

Catch all of my Survivor coverage at FilmSurvivor.com, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook!!!

About the author SurvivorTom


Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Detroit Film Critics Society.  He writes several on-line columns, most notably as the Detroit Movie Examiner and the Survivor Examiner for Examiner.com.  He also is a contributor as a Survivor-Insider to TVGeekArmy.com and writes exclusive Survivor in-depth episode analysis for TheTVKing.com. He has been featured on Rob Cesternino's "Rob Has a Podcast" and most recently landed the only exclusive Richard Hatch interview given since his latest legal trouble has surfaced. All of Tom's Survivor coverage as well as movie reviews can be found on his blog the "FilmSurvivor", at FilmSurvivor.com

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