It’s Day 37, and Fabio knows he’s going to have to break up the Sash/Holly/Chase alliance if he wants a shot at the final. He waits until Holly’s by herself and tries to guilt trip her. ”I’m sorry I’m in a bad mood, but things aren’t shaping up for me that well. Do you want to go to the final three with me?” That Fabio, he’s a nice guy and all, but he ain’t much for strategy.
Hilariously, Dan’s in the background all ”Me too!” because when you’re as lazy as Dan is, why not go for the lazy gold, am I right?
Fabio corners Sash next, asking him what his final three plans are. Sash manages to say that Dan is a giant threat without cracking himself up, so there’s one point in his favor (even though he’s generally a terrible liar). “I’m telling Fabio what he wants to hear because he may go on an immunity run,” Sash says. He also tells Fabio he wants them to go to the end together, but his face is the worst at lying. He’s just awful at it, seriously.
Immunity Challenge. It’s raining pretty hard. Today the remaining Survivors will race out to three different stations, each containing a trivia question about Nicaragua and two answers. Choosing the right answer and untying the corresponding bag will reward the contestant with puzzle pieces; choosing the wrong answer will give them black pieces. The first person to answer all three questions correctly, bring the puzzle pieces back and assemble the puzzle (which is this season’s logo) will win immunity.
Before this begins, I have a hypothesis: there must have been some sort of budget reduction or labor conflict or something this year, because every single challenge they’ve done this season has been super simple. Remember when these final challenges used to be super complicated mazes and stuff? That seems long gone.
The challenge begins. Everyone is pretty much neck-in-neck (except Dan, of course) until Fabio gets the second question wrong and falls behind.
Who knew that “knowing stuff” could end up being Fabio’s downfall? Wait, everyone? Never mind.
Chase, Holly and Sash get all three questions right on the first try and get to work on the puzzles first. Fabio is super motivated, however, and luckily for him the puzzle isn’t very hard at all. He pulls off a pretty stunning come from behind victory and wins immunity for himself.
Back at camp, Fabio is super psyched to be safe. “I always knew that I was going to wait until the last minute to be aggressive,” he says. That’s kind of…dumb, actually. Putting yourself in a position where you have to win is a horrible idea. Being “aggressive” earlier means you have an alliance in place to guarantee your safety. “My plan is to talk to Sash and Chase and get Holly out,” he says.
Fabio and Dan “strategize” together to accomplish this plan. This apparently involves (and I am not shitting you here) Dan asking how many votes they need to get her out. Even idiot savant Fabio is like, “Um, three?”
“Let’s see….(counts on fingers)”
Dan and Fabio corner Sash to try and get him to switch, since Chase obviously isn’t going to do it. “I’m no threat, because everyone knows I have money,” Dan says. “Holly is from a small town.” That’s the extent of his argument. No “Hey, everyone likes Holly!” or anything, just “Holly is from a small town.” A round of applause for Dan, everyone.
Tribal Council. Jeff asks Dan whether a big part of his strategy is to let everyone know that he can’t win. Dan says yes. “There are people around that the jury would sooner give the money to,” he says. Like…just about everyone?
Holly tells Jeff that she knows Dan tried to get Sash to switch his vote and that Dan wants the four guys to go the end together. “It’s not because you’re a woman, it’s because you’re a threat to win,” Dan says. He repeats the stuff about her being a woman from a small town, and she gets justifiably upset over it. Fabio comes to her rescue. “The women on the jury see Holly as a motherly figure, and her answers at Tribal Council are always pretty good,” he says. That’s a much more feasible argument than “Hey, she’s from a small town! Lynch her!”
Time to vote. We don’t see any of the votes, which seems to be the pattern this year. When Probst starts to read them, the first two are for Dan, then one for Chase, and the next is for Dan and he’s out, FINALLY. How in the hell did he last this long? In Dan’s final words, he says a bunch of mean stuff about pretty much everyone, making fun of Sash’s voice and Chase’s attitude. It’s not even really clever; it’s all stuff that your average third grader would come up with, really. Anyway: later, Tiny Tan.
At camp the next morning, Fabio tries to confirm with Sash and Chase that they’ll go to the end together as long as one of them wins the final immunity challenge. They nod their heads unconvincingly, but it’s all Fabio has, really. “I think that everyone left will take me to the end no matter who wins,” Sash says. “If Fabio doesn’t win, though, he’ll go home. He’s a real threat to win the money now.” He wasn’t before?
The final treemail arrives, and it’s a cast iron sword. “We’re swordfighting!” Fabio says excitedly. I can’t tell if he’s joking or not. As usual, the message tells them to follow a map and collect mementos of their former tribemates, whom they will memorialize. “The Rites of Passage are a HUGE responsibility!” Holly says. Seriously? More like a huge time-filler.
Alright, let’s do this. First up: Crazy Wendy Jo! Boy I am blad I didn’t have to see any more of her than necessary, because the amount of crazy on this season was high enough.
Russell’s friend Shannon complains about how he got “put on a tribe with kids”, which contributed to his ouster. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was a dick, I guess. Jimmy Johnson gets big props from Holly for helping her “pull through”. Is that an Extense reference?
Jimmy T was he was “humbled” by the experience, and that’s quite enough out of him. Wow, there were A LOT of annoying people this season. Think about how many of them got voted out early, then think about how many of them were around almost all the way to the end. I mean, think about this: this season could have been WORSE. I know!
Tyrone was , um…Tyrone. Kelly B had one leg. Someone named Yve existed, apparently. Hi, Jill! You were awesome and I miss you greatly. Alina was, uh, present? I guess?
Marty. He says that he didn’t lie, cheat and steal as much as he thought that he would. He did, however, have more bad hair days than he thought he would.
Chase and Sash call Brenda “a great strategist”, which is totally untrue in retrospect. She also gets the most unflattering freeze frame of the bunch.
Yep, that happened.
And now, Na Onka. Her shield is black, apparently because she quit. That, or because the shields are racist. Let’s let her eulogize herself, shall we? “I was the smartest player in the game, hands down. And the craziest.” Hey, she got it half right! That’s a new record, I’m sure.
Ghostface Kellah, whose shield is also black, gets nothing to say, as usual. Benry had a terrible name. Jane was old and probably evil. She mentions something about North Carolina, of course, but the rest of what she says is completely, utterly unintelligible to me, and I lived in the south for twelve years. Dan got the furthest while doing the least.
Wow. Least interesting set of people ever.
And now, the final immunity challenge. Each person will use one hand to balance the sword on a shield. With the other hand, they’ll be stacking coins on the handle of the shield. When the pile falls, that person is eliminated from the challenge. The last person standing will win immunity.
There are three different size coins, and Probst announces which size to stack during which round. All of the coins are also uneven, so balancing them appropriately and choosing the correct coin is pretty key, too. Also, when the coins are placed the entire stack can be adjusted, so there are opportunities to correct mistakes.
He’ll be a really good cast member when they finally do Survivor: Point Break
Once there are about 25 coins stacked, things start to get interesting. Holly’s top coin falls and she’s the first one out. A few rounds later, Chase’s coins fall, so it’s down to Sash and Fabio. As more and more coins are stacked, Fabio looks worse and worse, but he uses the five second periods to readjust his whole stack and sneak through each round. The tense music builds as we watch them stack coins. Eventually, Sash’s stack collapses and Fabio wins his third immunity challenge in a row. Well, that certainly takes the suspense out of the rest of this finale.
Back at camp, Fabio is super psyched to screw with the heads of Sash, Chase and Holly. “It’s gonna be fun watching ‘em sweat on this one. I’m just gonna watch it play out.” He’s giddy, almost.
Holly asks Chase to go on a “water run”, which is pretty much just a transparent attempt for to devise a strategy to get Sash out. Sash takes the time alone to convince Fabio to keep him in the game. Fabio’s reply? “I haven’t made up my mind yet.” Sash almost immediately shits his pants, and Fabio absolutely loves it.
This is his excited face.
“I’m voting however you vote tonight,” Sash tells him. Fabio wants him to run down the jury. As Sash lists off the different jurors, giving many of their votes to Chase, it becomes clear that Sash’s goal is to get Chase out. Fabio takes this opportunity to confront Sash. “I feel that if any of you guys had won the immunity challenge, I would have been the next to go.” Sash lies to Fabio unconvincingly, telling him that they would have gone to the end together no matter what. Sash lays the bullshit on way, way too thick (as he is prone to do), crossing the line from potentially lying to straight up disingenuous. He adds a whole bunch of needless stuff about how Fabio is his best friend in the game and whatnot. To his credit, Fabio visibly rolls his eyes.
Later, Fabio tells Chase about how Sash is trying to make it seem like the jury will vote for him. Chase gets pissed off (I mean, for Chase. He’d still give you a hug if you asked), calling Sash a snake and generally being pissly. “Sash is willing to tell anybody anything,” Fabio says, “And it’s like ‘Dude, I can see right through you, and you don’t think I can!’” When Fabio, who’s smoked so much pot that he’s been enjoying a fringe buzz for the last 39 days, is able to suss you out? It’s time to reanalyze.
Fabio asks Chase the same question he asked Sash about being voted out if he had lost. Chase is honest with him, telling him that he definitely would have been gone if he hadn’t won. Holly walks up in the middle of the conversation, pushing further for Sash’s ouster and trying to convince Fabio that Sash is a liar.
Tribal Council. Fabio is still visibly excited, telling Probst how very much fun it was for him to watch the three person alliance scramble to try and make their case. Fabio tells Jeff that he thinks Sash lied to him today about going to the end, and that he saw right through Sash’s lies. ”It’s no secret that I’ve had many alliances with many different people throughout the game,” Sash says. Fabio asks him again whether they’d have gone to the end together if he’d lost, and Sash, backed into a corner says yes again. Probst heckles him some more about his wording, because he loves doing that to Sash this season, and Sash is all “Well, I didn’t really have to make that decision”, which creeps everyone out. More than the usual creepiness Sash exudes, that is.
Sash finally cops to the fact that he promised two different groups of people that they’d go to the end together, admitting that it’s a game and that these things happen. The jury is not impressed.
“But you guys are my best friends! Err, my second mom! Um…my cousins!”
Probst gives all three of them one last chance to pitch to Fabio, for some reason. Um…there are four votes here? A tie could happen, Probst. Fabio is not nearly as in charge as everyone seems to think he is. Anyway, they all pretty much say the same thing: that they’ve been honest and have never lied to Fabio.
Time to vote. One vote for Sash, and then it’s Holly, Holly, Holly and she’s out. Probably a good move for Fabio, really, since she’s his biggest competition. Holly cries in her final words, telling the world never to give up. I have to say, I really disliked Holly originally, but she’s grown on me over the last few episodes. Godspeed, Paisley Avenger.
Back at camp, the final three celebrate making it to the end. Fabio says he set the stage for a win tonight by pitting Sash and Chase against each other. “The guns are gonna be blazin’ tomorrow,” Chase says. Yeah, the squirt guns.
Sash tells us that Chase and Fabio really don’t deserve to be in the final three, and that he played the best strategic game. Probably true, but also he’s not likable at all, so I’d say his odds are slim. “My two wingmen,” he says to their faces like an asshole.
Finally, mercifully day 39. “It’s been such an awesome journey,” Fabio says. No, it hasn’t.
There’s a celebratory breakfast, of course, which takes place in the shelter this time because it rains all morning. Chase tells Fabio that he’s pretty much already won the million, and Fabio smiles at this. “I want to get him a little overconfident, to help myself out,” Chase says. Wait, is Chase actually doing stuff all of a sudden? I’m confused.
They also burn the shit out of their camp before the final Tribal Council. You know, it’s just like these guys to deprive various childrens’ charities of precious Survivor memorabilia.
Final Tribal Council! We begin, as always, with opening statements. Chase gets to go first, and he does that gross thing where he thanks them all for getting him to where he is before telling them to “bring on the questions”. He tells them he knows that a lot of them think that he’s wishy-washy and wants to address that directly, which (SPOILER) he will do by being wishy-washy.
Fabio tells the jury that he “enjoys” each of them (even NaOnka). He says his plan was always to assert himself only when he had to, and that’s exactly what he did by winning three immunity challenges. Again: stupid strategy, and he’s lucky that it worked, but who am I, right?
Sash says that he played the game much differently than either of the other finalists. Since all three of them outlasted, it all comes down to the Outplay and Outwit portions of the game, which he believes he did better than the other two folks. This is true, but mostly because the other two folks didn’t do any of those things. However, if you think the jury is going to vote based on merit, this is clearly the first time you’ve seen the show.
Brenda’s up first. She tells Sash that was very smart to make all of those alliances, but then why break every single one of them? He apologizes to her for screwing her over, and tells her that the game is one thing and friendship is another. In essence, he completely dodges the question.
“Chase, I had a more emotional attachment to you,” Brenda says, “so it was shocking how easy it was for you to accept it when the plan was to vote me out.” He tells her that wasn’t the case at all, and that he put his neck on the line, since the first thing he did was to come and tell her what was going on. He then says that Fabio and Na Onka backed out of their counter-attack, so he had no options but to get rid of her. Sash shakes his head at this, and tells Chase he could have stepped up more. This is the wrong thing to say since Sash could have given her the idol, and Brenda’s not shy about pointing that out either.
Marty addresses Chase first. He tells Chase that he has to give out a “Dumber Than A Bag Of Hammers Award”. He can choose whoever he wants, but “obviously” he can’t pick Marty himself. Chase gets awesome for a brief moment, telling Marty he won’t pick anyone in the final three, and while he’s at it, he thinks the question is bullshit because he wants to pick Marty and can’t. “Do I have to answer?” he asks Jeff, hilariously. “I’m not gonna answer, Marty, because I think you were the dumbest.” Marty’s like, “Well, if you don’t want to answer that’s your move.”
“What I lack in ability, I make up for in hair.”
Marty tells Sash that he was a very cerebral player (taking the opportunity to harass Chase some more by telling him that it means “smart”), and then tells Fabio that he’s changed the most before finally sitting down. Wow, that was embarassing for him.
Holly. “Chase, what do you consider your best strategical move?” Oh, ”strategical”. Usually you are confined to Big Brother, but not this season.
Chase tells Holly that it was at the very beginning of the game, when he had a chance to be wishy-washy for the very first time by voting Shannon out. Seriously, that’s his answer, to Holly, who has no idea who Shannon was, knows that Chase flips at the drop of a hat, and is also one of the best strategists this season. While I think Chase conducted himself well overall during jury quesitoning, this is an awful, awful answer.
“Fabio, do you think winning the last immunity challenges was too little too late?” she asks him. He says no, and that it was the best timing possible. “Winning challenges was my only option!” Fabio says, as if it’s some great move he pulled off. Again: that was your only option because of the way you had played to that point. If your plan is “do nothing until I have to win immunity challenges”, that’s not a plan.
“Sash, did you ever lie to me?” Sash says yes, because he made a commitment that he wouldn’t put her name down and then did at the last tribal council, and then he apologizes for it. He’s utilizing the Boston Rob strategy, in which he apologizes repeatedly for stuff he really shouldn’t feel bad about doing in the context of the game.
“Sash, all I have to say is that somebody raised you good to be a New York City river rat, and as far as I’m concerned you can go back to the New York city gutters and crawl back into the black hole that you came from.” You stay classy, Jane.
America’s Sweetheart, everyone.
“Chase, even though I am still totally pissed at you, you did make my time out here the funnest event I’ve ever had in my life. What would you do with the million dollars if you won?” Chase says that his brother runs a cancer charity, and if he wins he’ll give a hundred thousand dollars to it. He begins to say that he also wants to take care of his parents, and Fabio awesomely interrupts him, like “Um, I’d like to take care of my mom, too!”
Benry. (Best tweet I read all week, courtesy of @spacecitymarc: “I want to punch him so hard in the name.”) He congratulates “Fabs” (blech) on all the wins, says he’s heard enough from Chase to make a decision, and asks Sash what Benry himself could have done differently to end up at the end. Sash tells him he probably should have mounted a strike against Sash himself, because he thought Benry wouldn’t be willing to take him to the end and thus had him eliminated.
Dan. ”Sash, you are a liar and a phony. I think you’re spineless,” he says. Okaaaay. Lots of talk coming from a guy who mentioned quitting in every single episode.
He continues. “Chase, you were paranoid. There’s a lot of poeple bleeding here because of you, especially Jane,” he says. ”Beauty fades, dumb is forever,” Dan says, then sits back down. So, that was odd. Now I’m really glad that he was quiet and mopey all season.
“Alright, back to being lame.”
Kelly Clearasil. She’s going to give Sash sixty seconds to explain how he outwitted them all. He says he kept moving forward by changing alliances, and that’s pretty much it.. “That’s not the answer I was expecting, but that was perfect, thank you!” she says before sitting back down. I expect nothing less than complete and utter uselessness from her at this point.
Na Onka. ”Fabio, it’s been a pleasure cussing you out,” she says cheerfully. It’s actually kind of…charming? I know, I know. She asks him if seeing his mom was a kind of “gasoline” to fuel him toward the end of the game. He tells her that he didn’t actually get to go on the reward, and then he starts to cry talking about how much he really loves his mom. Pretty much everyone else on the jury tears up as well, and if you pause the recording at just the right moment? You can almost see Fabio win the million dollars.
With that, Na Onka heads back to her seat. No histrionics, no yelling, no trashiness. Just a simple question.
Alina. She tells Fabio that he’s “the ultimate surfer boy”, and that he’s really shown some emotion tonight, but that she doesn’t want to give the money to a boy, she wants to give it to a man. She wants Sash to convince her that he’s more deserving of the money than Fabio. Sash tells her that Fabio was always the last to know when something was going to happen, and that he played dumb until someone told him what was up. “There were many times when Fabio didn’t know what was going on until right before Tribal Council, or he voted for a person that did not end up going home,” Sash says. I think Alina’s probably the one person who would listen to this type of argument on this jury.
Alina tells Chase that she’s “pleasantly surprised” by him this evening, since he’s sticking up for himself without being wishy-washy. He tells her he wasn’t being wishy-washy, he was just “making himself a way out to play with people that he could trust”. If you think that doesn’t make any sense, you and I are on the same page.
Fabio interrupts, telling Alina that Chase really just wanted to get through the game without making people mad, and that Fabio himself is really the only person who was able to do that. Chase tells him that he didn’t make anyone mad because he had no idea what was really going on, which is a great point. Sash interrupts to point out that Fabio hasn’t really “Outplayed” either of them, and Fabio tries to make the case that winning three immunity challenges certainly falls into the “Outplay” portion of the game’s motto. Then Fabio awesomely tells Chase that he didn’t “Outwit” anyone either, insinuating that maybe they should both just shut up about the motto already.
With that, it’s finally time to vote for the winner. Marty’s vote is for Fabio, which is surprising because I thought he’d be the one vote for Sash. “Chase is the dumbest player ever to get to the end and Sash is a weasel. Congratulations.” he says.
We don’t see Na Onka’s vote, but she says it’s “been a pleasure”. Yeah, for you, maybe.
Alina votes for Chase, saying again the he impressed her. Dan votes for Fabio, and then Brenda thinks for a long time before finally casting her vote for Chase.
And then all of a sudden, we’re live! And Fabio’s had a haircut!
And they’ve all gained about fifty pounds!
And Coach is in the audience.
“You guys have NO idea how many midgets I had to escape from to get here tonight.”
The first vote’s for Fabio, the second is for Chase. They trade votes for a while; there’s one for Fabio that has “420″ written on it! Who do you think that was?
They trade votes until it’s 4-4, and the last vote is the decider. It’s for Fabio, and he’s the winner of this dismal season! He’s super excited, and honestly, things could have turned out a lot worse. He really didn’t do very much to deserve it, but he’s such a lovable dullard that it’s a nice enough outcome.
So, there’s realy not enough content to merit a full recap of this reunion, in case you couldn’t tell by the way they were struggling to fill the time with things that had nothing to do with the game itself, like interviews with Terry Bradshaw and an impromptu concert from Chase. With that said, I do have a few thoughts:
- Dude, that interview with Fabio? I mean, I knew the kid was perpetually stoned, but god, that was outstanding. Talking about “Human Creative Powers” and undermining the government, and how his family invented the color wheel and the folding card table? Just…wow.
- Way to completely biff the editing on Brenda’s elimination episode, show. Brenda admitting that she put together a plan to get rid of Sash, and then Sash formulating a counter-plan to take her out would have been much more interesting to watch than the extended Na Onka Show we got that week.
- As predicted, awful Jane wins the viewer money. Not only did she win, but she won with the most votes and by the biggest margin ever. I wish I could say I were surprised. You are a terrible judge of character, America.
- While I’m not forgiving Na Onka for being completely crazy, she basically acquitted herself well after the fact, and she’s right that parents shouldn’t be questioning her ability to do her job because of how she acted on a game show. Also, her mom is named Zena. How awesome is that?
- I really did not need to hear all the gory details of Rob and Amber’s birthing narrative.
- The twist next season is coming at just the right time. One thing this show is great it is changing things up and keeping them fresh when they begin to get stale, and this Redemption Island twist seems like just the thing to make that happen. I didn’t hate the Outcast twist from Pearl Islands as much as everyone else did, and I’m sure people are going to bitch, but I’m definitely looking forward to it. No mention of Rob or Russell, although I’m sure they’re holding that back for marketing in the spring.
- Can we discuss Wendy Jo’s outfit for a moment? I mean, that shit is custom made, right?
Where can I purchase this ensemble? My Christmas shopping is not done yet, thanks to this recap.
Well guys, it’s been fun hanging out with you this year. Thanks a lot for working to keep this season this interesting with me. With that said, now’s probably the right time to tell you that I’m not going to be recapping Survivor next season. Yes, part of it has to do with the fact that I am not eager to recap Russell for the third time, but I’d probably have ended up taking a break anyway. I’ve been at this for eight seasons now (!), and so I’m ready for a little sabbatical. But you guys have been GREAT, and I really appreciate every minute I’ve spent discussing what is still my absolute favorite show with you guys. So, best of luck, be nice to the new guy, and I’ll see all of you soon.