User Score: 1575
Rob joins Parvati Shallow, Amanda Kimmel, and Rupert Boneham as the only "Survivor" contestants who have now been part of three merged tribes.
For the second time in the show's history, a contestant was voted out of their tribe twice and had their torch snuffed two individual times in the same season. The first time was Burton from "Pearl Islands". This is also the second time in history a contestant that was previously voted out returns to the game in the same season (this also occurred in "Pearl Islands" with Burton and Lillian).
Russell Hantz becomes the second contestant to have played three or more times and still never sit on a jury after Rob Mariano. Russell also becomes the second contestant in "Survivor" history to play the game three times and only be voted out once after Amanda (during "Heroes vs. Villains").
Although he was not completely eliminated from the game, this episode features Russell's first time being voted out of a tribe and getting his torch snuffed out.
The Reward/Immunity Challenge in this episode was similar to the Immunity Challenge from episode 5, "Turf Wars", from "Survivor: Nicaragua".
Kristina finds the hidden immunity idol in this episode. Although this is not the first time a hidden immunity idol was found without a clue, it is the first time in the history of the show that the idol was found in the premiere episode of the season (Russell H. found the idol without a clue in the second episode of "Samoa"). It was also the first time that the tribe's votes were not revealed during the credits in an episode with regular game-play in it.
This season's cast features the return of Rob M. and Russell. This is Russell's third time on the show and Rob M.'s fourth. It is the first time in the show's history that a contestant has played four individual times. This season also features two former NFL players (Grant and Steve).
This season marks the fifth time that previous contestants have returned to play the game after "All-Stars", "Guatemala", "Fans vs. Favorites" and "Heroes vs. Villains".
The concept of eliminated contestants being allowed to return to the game was previously used in "Pearl Islands", but was first used in the Israeli and Philippine versions of the show.
"Survivor: Redemption Island" was filmed in Nicaragua, making it the second time the show has filmed there. This is the fourth time that a location has been used more than once, after Panama, Palau and Samoa.
This season was titled "Survivor: Redemption Island".
In response to Kelly S. and NaOnka quitting this season and being allowed to be on the jury, Jeff Probst announced that, from now on, the show's producers will reserve the right to determine whether or not a contestant who quits during the jury phase for any reason (other than medical or family emergency) will be allowed to sit on that jury.
Towards the end of the reunion, Rob Mariano announced that he and wife Amber now have two children. Their youngest daughter, Carina Rose, was born on December 10.
During the Rites of Passage walk the final four took recalling and collecting wooden shields representing the names of all the voted out people, each shield is painted red, blue or yellow according to the person's tribe. In the case of NaOnka and Kelly, who quit, their shields were black.
"Sash" joins Russell from "Heroes vs. Villains", Mick from "Samoa", Stephen from "Tocantins", Sugar from "Gabon", Cassandra and Dreamz from "Fiji", and Becky from "Cook Islands" as the only contestants to reach a final and not receive any votes to win.
For the first time in the show's history, the final three are all males. Furthermore, they are all from the original younger tribe and therefore, in the battle of young versus old, the young tribe won.
At 21 years old, Jud replaces Todd from "Survivor: China" (who was 22) as the youngest winner of "Survivor".
After this episode's initial airing, many fans were angry that NaOnka and Kelly S. were allowed to be on the jury since they quit. Jeff Probst announced on his official blog, that Janu (from Palau) was also allowed to be on the jury even though she had quit. Therefore, since it happened once before, they believed it was fair.
This is the second time that contestants did not vote while at Tribal Council after Janu quit in Palau.
For the first time in "Survivor" history:
- 2 contestants quit in one episode.
- the jury consists of 2 people who quit.
- the final words of the person who quit was aired during the credits.
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