The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
Get exclusive content and features by supporting Inside Survivor on Patreon.
No. 37 – Ashley Underwood (Redemption Island)
Redemption Island is considered one of the dullest seasons in the show’s history, mostly due to Boston Rob Mariano‘s seemingly easy march to victory. Watching somebody play Survivor for their fourth time against a field of newcomers wasn’t exactly a fair fight and didn’t make for the most riveting television.
Rob had such a vice grip on the game; he controlled how every vote was going to go, was in tight with everybody, and his win seemed like an inevitability. But there was one final obstacle that Rob didn’t anticipate and almost cost him his game, and her name was Ashley Underwood.
Granted, Ashley followed Rob’s direction for the majority of the season, and why wouldn’t she? She was a part of his main alliance and knew there were people ahead of her in the pecking order, so there was no need to rock the boat.
By the time the first Final 5 round happened, Ashley (thought she) was in a great position to get to the Final 3 with the people of her choice. On one side would be her BFF Natalie Tenerelli, the quiet and more passive of the two, and on the other side would be Rob, the four-time returnee who surely wouldn’t win based on that fact alone. The only problem was, Rob knew that as well and put the plans in motion to vote Ashley out during that round.
However, a wrinkle occurred in Rob’s plan. Ashley won not one, but the next two Immunity challenges, forcing him to vote off Grant Mattos and Andrea Boehlke (returning from Redemption Island). These Immunity wins put Ashley within sniffing distance of the finals and put Rob’s entire game in jeopardy.
Rob knew that if Ashley were to win a third Immunity, then either he or mega-goat Phillip Sheppard would be going home, and his chance at the million would be over. Fortunately for Rob, Ashley did not win. Rob proved triumphant in the final Immunity challenge and was finally able to send Ashley out of the game.
Ashley was never a huge character in the narrative and was content to follow Rob’s orders, so at first pass, she doesn’t seem all that memorable. But with those late-game Immunity wins, she became that final hurdle that Rob had to jump over to win the game, providing him with some actual difficulty towards the end.
If Ashley had won that final Immunity challenge, there’s an excellent shot she would have won the whole the game. Alas, she didn’t and is forever a member of the Day 38 club.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.