“Boston Rob” Mariano, who seemingly pulled all the strings from the beginning, won “Survivor: Redemption Island” just as he vowed, taking home the $1 million prize and another $100,000 for being voted fan favorite. How did he do it?
Rob won in a landslide with eight votes, while Phillip Sheppard received one. Rob also received 40 percent of the vote to win the $100,000.
Rob established control early by building unity in his tribe and focusing on eliminating the other tribe members.
He held together his six-member alliance, until the very end. The final survivors came down to Rob, 35, former federal agent Phillip and 19-year-old Natalie Tenerelli.
Rob’s four Survivor seasons apparently gave him the edge in experience he needed. He previously played on “Survivor: Marquesas,” “Survivor: All-Stars” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.”
“I’ve been out here for 117 days, basically 10 years on and off. I’ve been trying to climb this mountain and get to the top of it. It’s almost a third of my life, but does Survivor define me?” Rob said.
“It’s been a huge part of my life. It’s been a huge chapter in my life, and it’s a game that I love, but it doesn’t,” he added.
“At the end of the day, it’s about my wife and my child. That’s why I’m out here. I love this game, and ultimately I wanted to win it so I can bring something home so they have a better future.”
The jury was made up of David Murphy, Julie Wolfe, Steve Wright, Ralph Kiser, Grant, Matt Elrod, and Mike.
The showdown came at the 15th Tribal Council. Andrea wanted the girls to unite and oust Rob, a move she said would win the respect of the jury.
But before announcing the vote, Jeff called for the hidden Immunity Idol, and Rob played it.
“My mother always told me better be safe than sorry,” Rob explained.
As it turned out the four remaining members voted out Andrea, while Andrea voted to eliminate Rob.
Andrea became the eighth member of the jury.
Rob explained afterward it was going to be himself with Ashley Underwood and Natalie in the final three when he approached the girls to talk.
Both the girls knew how much of a threat Rob posed. “He’s Boston Rob. Who wouldn’t want to take him out?” Ashley said.
But Rob also ended up blindsiding Ashley and she became the ninth and final member of the jury.
“I honestly didn’t know I was going home. I was probably an idiot for thinking that because I was the biggest threat that Rob could have taken to the final three,” said Ashley.
When the final Tribal Council session, the 17th of the season, convened, David seemed to sum up the situation best.
He said Rob had played the best strategic game and was the clear winner. He totally blew off Phillip and said Natalie only survived because of Rob.
The rest of the jury was convinced, and the season was history.