44. Redemption Island (Season 22)
Was it satisfying to see Russell Hantz get his comeuppance after he’d made it to back-to-back Final Tribal Councils in his first two appearances? You bet. Though he’s divisive among fans, was it also impressive to see the dominance of Boston Rob (nee Rob Mariano) and how he adapted from his first three tries in the game? Absolutely.
Of course, Redemption Island was also the first time that the titular twist was used, and, well, it probably shouldn’t have ever been instituted given its track record. As stated when talking about South Pacific, that twist, coupled with the two returning captains, didn’t do the season any favors regarding making it great.
The biggest issue, though, is actually how dominant Boston Rob was from the start of Redemption Island. From Day 1, he was unequivocally a step ahead of everyone concerning his strategy and typical prowess in challenges. While it’s impressive that he did so while convincing his alliances that they were with him and not following him, it was abundantly clear early on that it was Boston Rob’s game to lose. That feeling of inevitability, no matter how satisfying for fans of Boston Rob, works to the detriment of the season as a whole.