I can’t believe the Survivor finale is here already. It seems like just like week Jeremy was winning Second Chances and I was worried Kaoh Rong would be a letdown, following hot on the heels of such a fun season.
So, due to the unexpected evacuation of Joe last week, due to his inability to – ahem – evacuate – we’re down to Aubry, Cydney, Tai and Michele. I really want Aubry to win but Cydney and Michelle know she’s such a threat, so surely they’ll make a move. And if Tai makes the finale, will he get many jury votes? And is it a three or a two?
I want Aubry to win but I think Cydney could take home the $1 million. Who do you want to win – and who do you think will actually win? And no votes for Mark the Chicken – he’s in the running to replace Jeff as host is Probst ever steps down.
By the way, it’s rumoured the next two seasons of Survivor will soon be filmed in Fiji, in the Mamanuca Islands. I’ve been there twice (and was meant to be there this month, but the cyclone changed our plans) and it’s a gorgeous part of the world. Check out http://insidesurvivor.com/survivor-season-33-and-34-rumors-11168 for more info – no real spoilers there.
When’s it on?
The two-hours finale screens on Go! at 10am Thursday (yes, AM – good on you, Go! for rushing it) and is followed by the one-hour reunion show at noon. The finale is repeated at 8.30pm with the reunion at 10.30pm.
Jeff wanders out through CBS’s fake Cambodian village but you know he’s not in the jungle because he’s not wearing one of his wilderness shirts with a tribal-looking necklace. I love that he mentioned Mark the Chicken in his opening monologue! If only he’d followed it up with: “Mark the Chicken, this is your life!”
He recaps the season so far … medevacs … toughest … idols … enemies … blindsides … alliances … yadda yadda.
Then, we’re back to Cambodia and it’s Day 36. It’s not even dawn and Mark is already pissing everyone off by crowing while they’re trying to sleep.
Tai’s worried people will vote him off in retaliation, so he takes Mark down the beach. Surely Tai would be smarter to keep Mark at camp as cranky, tired people (I’m thinking Cydney) do not perform as well at challenges. He’s confident in his alliance with Aubry but thinks it’s them versus Cydney and Michele. Aubry is worried about Mich’s social abilities as she has no jury enemies.
Cydney is happy Joe was medevaced because everyone wants to be her buddy now.
Come on in, guys …
It’s reward challenge time and it’s one of those long, multi-step challenges where speed, balance and puzzle abilities are key.
Jeff’s in his spiffy blue cap. The winner gets, surprise, surprise, food, including steak which, based on poor Joe’s satay beef experience, they’d best just nibble.
Jeff is openly barracking for Tai and Cyd in the challenge and poor Mich is getting all the negative comments. Aubry is killing it in the balance component of the challenge, as sleep and food deprivation take their toll. Surely Aubry will smash the puzzle task? But no, the first combination she picks fails. The camera helpfully zooms in on the bit she’s stuffed up. She’s going to kick herself when she watches it back but – yay – she gets there in the end and even steals a hug from Jeff. And he tops it off with a back slap and “good job”. Man, he lurrrves Aubs. She can take another person on the reward with her if she wants, and she picks Cyd, which was the only smart choice for her. She needs to build their bond and she knows Cyd gets hangry.
Again, they get to eat a stone’s throw from camp (just as they did with the Chinese food reward) – hard on the other contestants.
At the camp, Mich tries to convince Tai they need to team up as they are both on the bottom. “I think Aubry’s the bigger target,” she says. Tai says he likes it but he doesn’t look her in the eye. Still, he wants the million.
Day 37 and it’s immunity challenge time already
It’s one of those massive running up and down stairs type ones with a puzzle at the end that they’ve favoured lately at the pointy end of the competition.
The winner is guaranteed a spot in the final three.
Aubry is in the lead pretty much the whole challenge but no-one is doing dreadfully as is usual in these challenges. I’d like to know how hot it was that day. I wish they’d let them drink water while they do the puzzle.
Tai does really well in the puzzle section and Mich is not far behind. Yep – Mich wins and then does a karate yelp in celebration and kicks her puzzle over.
“Wow – nobody saw that coming,” Jeff tells her in his tactful manner.
Back at camp, Mich is feeling powerful – as she should. Aub and Tai go off to “get water”, which cutely involves holding hands as they strategise. Aub needs Tai to stick with her so they can force a tie and go to the fire-making challenge – which we at home would love to see. But will Tai flip to Mich instead?
“Tai and I have been like a zipper that doesn’t zip the whole game … he switches on a dime,” Aub tells confessional. She reckons she’s not very good at making fire, though.
Cyd is playing it cool, tell Mich she’ll vote for whoever she wants. Mich wants to keep Aubry but she thinks she’ll be too good at talking to the jury.
Cyd feels bad as they have been “ride or die homies” (I love Cyd’s confessionals) for ages, but “my loyalty is to my mother. I’m trying to change her life”. This is the first we’ve heard about her mum, I believe. Mich is confident Tai will vote with them to save himself.
Mich tells Tai he’s safe because Aubry is a threat. Aubry senses change in the air and knows she’s in trouble.
“The person who goes to the jury tonight has a lot of information about what’s happened in this game,” Aubry tells Jeff,referencing Pandora’s box, trying to make everyone scared about her poisoning the jury.
“Michelle, she looked right at you,” says Jeff, stirring the pot.
Cyd: “It’s a me game, not a we game.” Tai just wants the mill and says alliances are out the window.
They move through things quickly and I think my girl Aubry is going home.
Aubry, Cyd, Aubry, Cyd. It’s a tie! The jury is surprised – and delighted.
Jeff asks if they should revote and Mich gives Tai the stare but he doesn’t crack. So, a fire-making challenge it is. Awesome! I know we won’t end up with a Cook Islands-like disaster where neither woman could make a fire. And that was even after they gave them matches. Yes, really (great pic recap of that excruciating 90-minute failure here http://funny115.com/v2/27.htm)
Cyd gets some good sparks early but they both struggle to keep the flame going. They need to build it up enough to burn through the string.
Aubry gets a great blaze going but unluckily for her the wind is blowing sideways and it doesn’t quite reach the rope. Nooo – she’s back to the ashes.
Aubry is building up her fire again and most people on the jury seem to be willing her to succeed.
Yes!! Aubry wins! It’s possible I’m more excited by this than if she takes out the whole shebang.
Cyd’s crying. Aub’s crying. Tai’s crying. The producers are crying with happiness that they got great footage.
Poor Cyd tells Jeff she wanted the prize to pay her mum’s mortgage and get her health insurance. Yep, that’s Murica for you – crap health care for the poor. Well, that put a bit of a downer on things.
Now we cut back to the studio and Jeff is cuddling Cyd’s crying mum, who is as ripped as her “baby” – and dad is massive!
Back at camp Mich says she knew Cyd wound’t win as she’d never made fire with flint, but she’s surprised Tai stuck with Aubry.
“I think you’ve literally just handed Aubry a million dollars,” Mich tells Tai.
Still they are happy to be the final three and to face the jury. Or are they? Tai has picked up on what there’s been a lot of internet speculation about: That it could be a final two this season. He is obviously a huge fan of the show as he even knows Jeff’s usual wording. This is the kind of Survivor nerdiness I’d expect from Aubry but I guess she was on a high from making fire. The girls assure him there’s no more challenge but next morning he’s proved right. This will have to be one of those standing on a pole forever type challenges.
Final immunity challenge – for real
They walk in and it looks like there is some kind of ball and puzzle challenge awaiting them. Jeff, in his black cap, tells them: “Today immunity is (pause) not up for grabs. It was a fake out! They ARE the final three after all. I hope that challenge set didn’t go to waste – maybe they used it for Second Chances, which was filmed straight after Kaoh Rong even though it screened first.
And then Jeff says something unprecedented. They get to do the challenge after all but it’s for reward, and the winner will vote out someone tonight but it’s not one of them: it’s a jury member. Wowsers – that’s a good twist. Aubry’s reaction has to be bleeped out.
Turns out the challenge was an option in the very first challenge of the season but none of the teams picked it. It’s a tricky one, involving stacking balls and wooden stands on an unstable surface using a long prong to grab everything. Joey Amazing and Keith Nale would be great at this challenge. Mich and Aubry are pretty even but Mich takes it out. Good one, Mich. So, she’ll vote out Joe, right, as he’s a dead cert to vote for Aubry? Plus, since it’s Joe he’ll forgive her in real life that he never get to have the experience of casting a Survivor vote.
Back at camp Mich trots out the “it could be a million dollar decision”. She tells Tai she’s thinking Joe but Tai says she should also consider Neal – he wants Neal gone because he knows he wont get Neal’s vote.
Mich then talks through her strategy with Aub, who tries to steer her in the direction of Scot and Jason because they can stir the pot at final tribal and possibly sway others. The problem with this line of thinking is that every Survivor fan knows most jury members have already made up their minds befor final tribal.
The jury comes in and Nick notices straight away that no-one is wearing an immunity necklace. Mich gets to read out the jury vote out rules and the jury is suitable shocked. Then Jeff gets them to talk to the alternate strategy of voting out someone who’ll be throwing bombs at the tribal.
Mich says she’s picking someone who would never have voted for her and who can be persuasive to others. So, not Joe, then. Must be a Sooky.
Jeff reads the vote and …
Poor Neal. First he’s pulled from the game with a weird knee infection and now he doesn’t even get to make the jury for final tribal. I bet he’s been working on his jury speech for ages back at Ponderosa. He takes it in good spirits: “It’s an honour to finally have my name written down.” And then as he saunters past Mich he tells her what sounds like part of his speech: “You came into this game thinking you were a bad-ass bitch but you are more like a cute little puppy, still suckling at the teat, and I don’t think you stand a chance.” Ouchies! Off he goes, to be sequestered.
“It sounds like you might have made the right choice,” Jeff tells Michele.
Afterwards, Neal tells confessional Mich was smart to vote him off as he would have advocated for Aub. But he thinks it won’t help Mich’s chances.
Back in the studio, Jeff says the producers first raised the jury vote twist seven years ago. And then he drops the news there will be an unexpected guest at tribal. Surely it’s Mark the Chicken?
Back at camp, Aubry is sad Neal is lost to her (again). Little does she know she’s going to win this thing. Then Survivor does something they haven’t done for ages: gives the contestants a mirror and scales. I used to love this bit.
Tai is worried his hardships will be all for nothing but, hey, runner up still gets $100,000, right?
Mich has to convince them she’s not a goat and Aubry thinks she has to explain her uneven play.
Yes, the surprise guest was in fact Mark. Please can someone say: “Tai, if you kill that chook right now I will give you my vote.”
With Neal voted out, Nick doesn’t have a rival for jury spokesperson. He tells Michelle she needs to display intelligence; Tai, awareness; and Aubry confidence. It’s like the Wizard of Oz.
Debbie questions Tai about his vote switching but he defends himself as having been loyal to Aubry – all while a mesmerised Mark sits in his lap.
Debbie says she liked watching Aubry’s change from neurotic nerd to geek warrior. And Aubry manages to compliment Debbie with her responses, which always goes down well.
Mich’s BFF Julia is next and starts off listing her weaknesses but then turns it around by saying how she upped her game by voting her BFF off. She thinks Tai has the opposite game, starting strongly then tapering off. Again he says it’s not a weakness that he was loyal to Aub at the end.
Joe tells Mich in more polite terms that he’s going to ignore her. He tells Tai he likes him but wonders why he should vote for him and not his fave girl (as if he’s really considering Tai). Tai lists off finding the idol, winning an advantage and voting off Scot. Then Joe gives Aubry the easy “why should I vote for you” question and she adeptly lists off many reasons, including how she had her finger on the pulse of the game, despite her lack of idols.
Jason reckons he doesn’t know who he’s voting for, which is rubbish. I thin he’ll vote Aubry for her strategic and physical play. He asks Mich a question and she’s glad to finally get one as she gets to give a “I did make moves” speech. Jason asks Tai to explain why he flipped and we again here the “I got scared” answer, with an added bit about their “savage” man talk being isolating for him. Mark gets in a flap at this point. Man, I’d love to see Jeff come over and grab him for a cuddle.
It’s Cydney’s turn and Aub does the smart “I had to vote you out because I knew that’s what you would do”. Cyd appreciates that Mich gave her the chance to make fire by tying the vote but Aubry makes it clear Mich didn’t know that they were both voting Cyd.
Scot’s turn and he starts with a lame joke to which Aubry instantly fires off the punchline. He tells Tai he had all these advantages in the game and either didn’t use them or squandered them. Aubry says Scot should vote for her because he’s a competitor and he should respect competitive play. Then Scot tells Mich he’s surprised to see her there but well done, and I can’t tell if he’s being serious or not.
The questions are over and Jeff gives them a chance for a final plea.
Aubry fires up and gets really passionate: “I played my heart out.”
Tai talks about how hard the back stabbing nature of the game is: “I believe in goodness in humanity.” He talks about a Vietnamese proverb and starts crying about friendships being torn apart. Scot nods at one point. Mich tears up as she fought her way up from the bottom, even if they think she’s a goat.
Time to vote
Julia votes for Michele. Joe votes for Aubry.
We don’t see anyone else’s vote.
Before everyone heads off to Ponderosa, Jeff tells Tai it’s time to let Mark go, after 39 days together. “It’s up to fate now,” says Tai. Vote urn in hand, Jeff strides past the chook with a nonchalant: “See you, Mark.”
I love it when Jeff shows he has a sense of humour – it doesn’t happen often. At least we know Tai would have been reunited with his boyfriend, the human Mark, a few days afterward.
Back in the studio it’s time to read the votes and we get to see how fat everyone looks compared to their Survivor starvation appearance. Jason is wearing the most hideous floral jacket. OMG – Michele beat Aubry 5-2! What the hell. I know there was a lot of talk about Michele having a winner edit, but really!
Those bloody Sookies! I can’t watch all of the reunion now but that was an anticlimax.