We get a super long recap of the entire season, beginning with the Rob promising to kick Russell’s ass at the Heroes v. Villains reunion.
“As long as you stack the cast with some of the stupidest people you’ve ever chosen.”
Jeff talks a lot about how Rob tried “loyalty” this season, which I will not justify, and then hardcore stereotypes everyone else on the tribe as characters in the Rob narrative. Man, if I hadn’t been making last-minute cocktails at this point on Sunday I would have already known who was going to win already. Also, Matt loves God and Zapatera isn’t going to win. Good Lord, let’s just start chipping away at this thing, huh?
Though I could watch this all damn day.
So Grant shows up on RI and he’s still shocked and probably genuinely really hurt. Andrea tells him that she least wanted to see him because he will be tough to beat. Everything Andrea says makes me SO angry because she had SO many chances to win this thing, so from now on I’m just going to ignore her no matter what she says. Seriously, she could be talking about the rice and I’m just reminded of Kristina and Phillip and everything she could have done on like Day 12 and I get SO worked up and need to go lie down.
And speaking of just lying down, we’re back with Ashley and Natalie.
Rob says he misses Grant because he genuinely likes him, but he actually understands it’s a game. He’s also worried about Grant’s being a threat, and he still hardcore wants to vote out Ashley.
Back at RI, Matt is trying to save some face as the duration winds down and starts talking about how much he loves RI and how it’s his home. I’m going to Andrea-ignore you too, Matt. Tree mail says last dual time!
But if you guessed there would be more prayer and more asinine talk about how much they’re going to miss RI first, you win a gold star. Matt wants to make sure we know that God deserves all the credit and glory. YES YES GOD YES WE KNOW. This is worse than those guys that ask for donations outside of supermarkets, because they can’t win challenges to keep coming back to you every week.
The challenge is balancing a vase with your foot, because now we’re taking challenges from old slapstick routines.
I didn’t think Grant would be able to look masculine doing this, and I was right.
After 20 minutes everyone starts struggling and Probst keeps yelling stupid advice. 40 minutes, more of the same. And then Grant’s vase falls. I bet THIS is worse than Divorce Court, eh Grant?
Sidenote: I read that the stupid Fallen Comrades Walk is online so you can go watch it if you’re so inclined. And if you’re so inclined, what the hell is the matter with you?
Matt is out next.
Ometepe (and America’s) reaction upon realizing how much time we wasted watching Matt cry and win duals this season.
So Mike and Andrea chill for awhile and then Mike falls, so Andrea gets to frustrate me to no end for at least another twenty minutes. Now we get to rapid fire lose three Survivor. Grant says he was given a gift in this game so his mission was accomplished. WHATEVER. Matt renounces his faith and buys a hooker. Oh, wait, he…thanks God and praises him. Mike says this isn’t what he wanted to happen and he’s disappointed. gg Zapatera.
HOW WILL ANDREA SHAKE UP THE GAME?
“Listening to Rob always worked, so I guess I’ll just keep doing that again?”
Back at camp everyone talks about how awkward this is, and Andrea decides to actually do something. She kinda tells the girls that everyone on RI is planning on voting for either Rob or Phillip (good idea, but she definitely could have sold it better), but as we will ultimately see tonight Ashley and Natalie are the definition of playing for second place, so instead they just sort of worry that Rob might be closer to Phillip than them.
Rob solidifies himself with Phillip and talks about how much he wants to get Ashley away from Natalie. Aaand challenge time!
“Actually Jeff, we’ve all sort of been competing to see who can help Rob win the most.”
Today we’re putting tiles in order from 1 to 100. Oh, give me a break. REALLY? That sounds challenging for all of us that have not yet graduated the second grade. Too bad we didn’t save Puzzlemaster Dave for this one, eh Sarita?
I was actually thinking about her the other day and wondering if she was still jamming random sticks into her gums.
Rob, Ashley, and Andrea are all in lead thanks largely to the balance beam aspect of the challenge. This is the most intense chronological challenge ever! It basically comes down to Ashley and Rob, which is pretty intense because we know that this will dictate whether Andrea or Ashley go home, and then Ashley wins. Let’s see an awesome scramble, Andrea! (He wildly hoped, forgetting who he was talking to).
Back at Murlonio. Rob calls together everyone but Andrea IN FRONT OF ANDREA and lets her know that she’s next. Rob says it’s because she’s genuinely a likable vote threat. Also, he’s got his idol for tonight. Minor misdirection from the editors making us think he won’t play the idol, but like Sandra he’s way too smart to go out that way.
So, just like the last two weeks, Ashley and Natalie talk about how tight they are and how Ashley is worried about Rob and so Phillip “goes into special agent mode” and grabs Rob to report on them talking. Andrea laughs about how crazy things are. FOR GOD SAKES CREATE PARANOIA YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
Andrea heads over to the girls and says she’s voting for Rob, and makes a pretty good case for the girls eliminating Rob. Which is all what they should do, but (spoiler alert) the girls’ later revelation at the reunion that they knew about Rob’s idol sort of changes this. It doesn’t let them off the hook for doing NOTHING strategically, but it does mean we should have been way more frustrated with them like nine days ago. Rob talks about how good he is. Natalie and Ashley speculate on voting Rob out, again which makes no sense given we now know they know about the idol. VOTE PHILLIP AND TAKE EACH OTHER TO THE END. Rob laughs about maybe not playing it again, and again I don’t believe him.
Tribal Council #1! Rob says he’s paranoid as always. Phillip reminds Jeff that he is the UNDERCOVER specialist and then straight up looks at Rob for permission to talk about the problems the three women are causing. Jeff Probst, in his infinite gender understanding, tells them that it could be “an easy one” because there are three women and two men. Andrea agrees and reminds them that the jury is “an intelligent jury” and would respect eliminating Rob. Again, all good points, should have happened early, Andrea makes me want to slit my wrists in frustration.
“Tell me more about what an intelligent jury we are.”
Natalie says something dumb and it wasn’t until tonight I realized how much I hated her. Rob talks about how much of a threat Andrea is, and now it’s vote time.
I feel like it’s been so long since we had an intense vote, but remember when we were all FREAKING OUT that Julie would side with Russell in like episode 3? That was awesome.
Anyways, Rob plays his idol and, as expected, it’s four votes for Andrea anyway. So long RI! Thanks for adding almost nothing!
If someone had told you this was going to be the Final Four after the first episode, you would have laughed in their face.
Night 37 back at Murlonio and Phillip says he suspected Rob had the idol but wasn’t sure, so he congratulates him. Stop being randomly really sane, Phillip! Ashley talks about how dumb Andrea is because she is still in the game and Andrea isn’t. Again, definition of playing for second. Hey, did you know Rob really wants to win? He says it again.
Another challenge! It’s a really epic maze you have to run through and then solve a puzzle, and it makes me wish all the challenges were like this instead of stupid fish puzzles. I really liked the blindfolded maze they did right at the end of HvV, too.
Everyone runs around looking goofy for awhile and then Rob finds the first station. Ashley has decided just to follow Rob around, because it’s worked for 38 days, right? Everyone gets one bag, and then it’s mostly just Ashley and Rob neck-and-neck and Jeff berating Natalie for like ten minutes.
Ashley and Rob get to the puzzle first and start working on it, and the music gets intense and quiet and Rob says they should work together. WHAT? It looks like Ashley gets all the words first but isn’t smart enough to put them together, and then there’s a cool sequence where they both clearly have a few words but they both pretend to be clueless. “You can work together all you want, but there’s only one immunity winner,” Jeff adds helpfully. Rob gets the puzzle together first and wins a million dollars! Oh, wait.
“Can’t we just skip right to my Early Show check presentation?”
So he gets really emotional and talks about Amber and how he is even OK now if he loses, but let’s just think about how crazy it is that he’s played four times and never ONCE been on a jury.
Back at camp they all celebrate Rob’s win, and Rob pulls Ashley aside and tells her it’s Phillip and pulls Phillip aside and tells him it’s Ashley. Awesomely, even Ashley and Phillip agree to play along and pretend they’re going home. Ashley says she knows Natalie would tell her if anything changed.
Ugh, WHY are they so unconcerned with Rob beating them in the end? Again, it’s like they don’t even want to win. I just don’t understand what they’re idea of a best-case scenario is, because their optimal strategies still seem to end in getting beat by Rob in the end.
Rob decides that he does want Ashley gone and tells Natalie, and she weakly protests. Damnit, Natalie, stand up for SOMETHING. Rob just tells her to be strong and this is how it has to happen.
So now Natalie lies right to Ashley and tells her everything is OK, which is great deception but I wish it was for a better cause. Also she loves Ashley and they’re going to hang out all the time after this and blah blah blah. She says she might rather lose this game than lose a friend in Ashley. I’m use to this annoying guilt talk during the finale (Ian, anyone?) but you are going to lose both, Natalie. How do you not see that??
Tribal Council. Ashley says she would feel way better if she had won. And now we do that stupid thing where we pretend that the guy with immunity is making the decision all by himself and everyone pleads with Rob. NO! Any two of them could force a tie! Why SHOULDN’T Natalie just go ahead and vote for Phillip with Ashley? It won’t be her ass in the fire-making challenge and Rob has no way of kicking you off after this. Yeah, it won’t help at all to bring Ashley to the finals, but you should have thought of this endgame way earlier than this.
Everyone votes, and Ashley is blindsided. See you at the bitter jury portion, Ash!
Back at camp, Phillip tells them how proud he is of them. He also shares the most awkward handshake ever with Natalie. Then he starts talking about how he learned it’s OK to tell the world about his great grandfather and his ultimate plan is to tell the jury how much better he is than them. More on this later.
Time for the delicious last-day breakfast, which for my money is just as dumb as the Fallen Comrades walk. Natalie talks about how proud she is of herself and how she learned she can do anything. Yeah, as long as Rob is carrying you through it. Speaking of, Rob hilariously tells Phillip how hard it was to carry him there. Rob also tells us he’s going to give Natalie bad jury advice but then he actually tells her to stand up for herself and her actions which is pretty good advice, so…maybe Rob actually did get a little swept away in genuinely liking and wanting to help Natalie? Man, I wish she had been playing him.
“I’m going to vote for you to win tonight, Rob!”
Then, because apparently there’s a new rule where something has to be burned in every finale, Phillip tells us he was never proud of his “plum-colored underwear” and makes a big speech about approaching his destiny and throws them into the fire pit. Also, his great grandfather Jessum Harring would be happy about this too. Man, this dead guy had been more engaged with this season of Survivor than half of the cast members.
Final Tribal Council!
This is the exact moment we realize that Phillip is not a secret genius.
Opening statements. Natalie says that her strengths were her social skills and sticking with Rob and being loyal to Rob. Aaaand it’s at this point we realize she’s really just happy sitting there next to Rob and probably genuinely has no idea how to win Survivor. Honestly, I think she might want Rob to win.
Phillip gives us the speech we’ve been waiting for all season, and it’s just as disappointing as we feared. He acknowledges that he had to change his strategy when he saw Rob, but then says that he let Rob carry him and thanks Rob, and then also takes create for Stealth ‘R Us and keeping the tribe together, except he also credits Rob.
Here’s the problem with both Phillip AND Natalie: They both told us why the deserve to be there but not why they deserve to win. Yeah, we get that Rob did all the work and you were smart to ally with him. Now why should we vote for you? Honestly, it’s because neither of them do deserve to win. They can’t say they cut him loose when they should have because they didn’t. Probably all they could do would be bank on a bitter jury and play up all Rob’s backstabbing, but I don’t think they’re even smart enough for that. Phillip, for better or for worse, is just as slightly unbalanced and ridiculous as we thought.
Anyway, Rob says Zapatera would have gotten rid of him immediately (nice ego boosting), and that he won lots of challenges, he was a hard worker, and he put together alliances. He’s such an old-school Survivor player. He keeps going with his really good speech about how all that matters is what they think, and then finishes it off with some stuff about how long he has wanted to win but ultimately he’s there for Amber and the kid. Yeah, yeah, Rob is the best. It should also be noted there’s an awesome lightning storm going on while they’re here.
Question time: Andrea is up first. She tells Phillip that he’s weird. LOL. Then, she asks who the real Phillip is. Phillip tells Andrea that she should already know by now and if she doesn’t, don’t vote for him. Wow, maybe the worst handled jury question ever.
Then Andrea says Natalie relationship with Rob was creepy (WORD, Andrea). Natalie says this was all in the game and she knew Rob was the best choice to get her to the end. Let’s just stop talking to Natalie, OK?
Ashley, because apparently we’re going alphabetically. She tells Phillip she has nothing to say to him so she will speak and he will not, and then Phillip hilariously starts talking over her about how he will comment if he has something to say, and the whole thing is a jury management disaster but still uber hilarious. Oh, Phillip, thank you for being you.
Oh, JEFF! He’s amused like us!
So Ashley thanks Phillip because now she knows she can get through anything, and Phillip calls her a whiny child. Then she moves on to Natalie and the betrayal, who basically just argues that it was back-and-forth and she was the bigger threat anyway. Ashley accepts this and moves on to Rob, telling him she doesn’t know him anymore and she doesn’t know if she wants to know him. Wow, are you breaking up with him? How long have you been dying to say that to a man, Ashley?
Speaking of breaking up, Grant is next. He basically asks Natalie and Rob if they were closer than Rob and Grant, which is the most depressing jury question I’ve ever heard. Natalie rubs it in and tells Grant that she was friends with him since Day 1. Rob agrees and says that it was the same relationship but Grant was a threat so he had to go. Grant whines about how he still wanted to go to the end with Rob, then trails off and sits down.
Ralph! He tells Natalie she can’t do anything without Rob. Natalie tries to defend it with loyalty talk but again fails. Remember when I said not to talk to Natalie anymore? Ralph tells her she “done great” and moves on. LOL. Ralph asks if Phillip likes him, and Phillip compliments him for like three minutes. Way to buy second place, Phillip.
Matt! Matt calls Rob duplicitous, manipulating, deceiving, and a liar. Someone won a thesaurus at RI! He asks Rob where the line is. Rob does the smart thing and owns up to the game aspect. Go away, Matt.
The Lex auditions were yesterday, kid.
Julie! Julie isn’t mad, she’s disappointed. Wow, and prepare for Julie to shatter all of our conceptions of her as the coolest person this season. She tells Natalie that her parents will not be proud to watch her serve Rob the way that she did and that she would not be proud if she were Natalie’s mother. Man. She tells Phillip he is only there because he won’t get any votes and he needs to start making his own son proud (he had a son? why didn’t we hear about this?). Phillip starts to protest that Julie always complimented his work ethic and then tells her to go to Hell. Best jury management ever. She then starts to tell Rob that he brought crazy people to the end, but Phillip interrupts AGAIN and tells the jury he kicked their asses socially by staying tighter with Rob than they were. Everyone goes “oooo” in a really sarcastic way, but Phillip takes them seriously. This is getting painful.
So Julie tells Rob to raise his daughter NOT to be treated like Natalie and Ashley. hehe. What happened to nice, off-to-join-a-church Julie?
Mike talks about building his faith and stuff and asks them what they learned about themselves. Natalie says she learned always to have Rob around. Phillip learned how to find missing laundry. Rob learned how to found a cult. Let’s move on, huh?
Steve commends Natalie on her age and Rob on his longevity, then tells Phillip he’s sorry for him and he’s a shameful man.
Finally, David tries to pull an Erik and speaks to the jury about how they should all vote for Rob because he played an amazing game. Yeah, we were going to do that anyway, David. Sit back down until you’re ready to propose to your idiot girlfriend.
Voting time, finally. We see David vote for Rob and Ralph vote for Phillip, so I’m actually pretty glad he’s going to get the 100k over Natalie. Jeff thanks them for the season as always and then heads off into the jungle. Then it’s live show time!
That magical time of year when we ask ourselves, ‘who the hell are these people?’
Jeff asks Natalie if she has a shot at winning and she’s like, uh, no. But Jeff forces her to say yes. Rob and Phillip both say yes. It’s one for Rob, then one for Phillip, and then the rest are all for Rob. Welcome to the top of the mountain, Boston Rob. It only took a cast full of novices and four tries to get you there.
Highlights from the reunion: Like half of the cast doesn’t get to speak. Amber and Rob are cute together and Jeff wants their baby to shut the hell up. Ashley and Natalie still hate Phillip, but Phillip and Steve are friends now and presumably go to his log-rolling league every weekend. Some federal agent sort of confirms that Phillip is legitimate. Russell is still a huge asshole and does actually want to play again. David proposes to Carolina from Tocantins (yes, who was first voted out) and she kind of seems like she doesn’t want to marry him but she says yes.
Next season is Survivor: South Pacific, and will follow the same format with two returners and RI. So the question I leave you with this summer: Who should the returners be? Thanks for letting me recap a great season with you!