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Survivor 36 - 5/23/18 - The Mostest Season Finale Ever

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Oh, good, the finale format hasn’t changed. We still get Probst in skinny jeans and a cashmere sweater reminding us why he no longer has a daytime talk show, early bootees we don’t recognize, and current players who also look unrecognizable. It could be that we don’t recognize them because Survivor was too clever by half and kept switching up the tribes all season. It was not helpful. Probst’s introduction leads us to the usual previouslies, recapping the entire season. I’m just going to assume you have some idea of what has gone on, either through watching the show or reading the recaps. If not, then what the hell are you doing here?

Who will be the…Sole! Survivor!

We start as always post tribal with the Survivors trying to figure out what the hell came out of Donathan’s mouth. Seriously, is Colonel Teef McBarnfarter (tm Tsylyst) playing any sort of end game or just winging it? Because he’s turning out to be bad at this game. Sebastian is ready to make a big move, which would have been fantastic about 3 weeks earlier. I’m guessing his weed finally ran out, hence the urgency. He reminds us he has the cursed extra vote and this is the last tribal he will be able to use it, so it would be really stupid not to use it, right? I know there are no definitive studies on how long-term marijuana use affects your cognitive function, but…draw your own conclusions. Meanwhile, Dom and Wendell decide they want to vote out SeaBass because he is a threat of some sort. From what I can deduce, he is a threat only because he hasn’t pissed off any jury members, but unless they are all Bitter Betties, that shouldn’t be an issue.  

Immunity challenge! (First of many tonight.) Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Empire Sky shirt, for those keeping score at home. There is a great overhead shot of a giant maze in the same of a skull, to represent the Ghost Island logo. This took a lot of trips to Hobby Lobby for craft supplies. I hope they used the forty percent off coupon that comes in the mail. Survivors will have to traverse the maze to find three different stations with a bag of puzzle pieces tied to a post. Once they have retrieved all three bags back at their starting point, they can open said bags and solve a vertical puzzle. Bags must be retrieved one at a time. But wait! There’s more! They are also playing for reward, in the form of a steak dinner with baked potato and all the fixings. That sounds pretty good right about now. Survivors ready? GO! And they are off, running through the giant skull. The overhead shots are really fantastic of this challenge, but the best part is Probst constantly throwing shade at Donathan. In fact, when the Kentucky Colonel finally gets his third bag, Jeff snarks, “And the crowd goes wild!” I would take Probst to task for being a jerk but first, see my previous thirteen recaps, and second, it’s Donathan. In the end, it is Wendell who finishes first. He shouts, “HEY PROBST!” and Jeff loves it, grinning from ear to ear as he proclaims Wendell the winner.

By the way, Wendell really needs some pixilation coverage in some of these shots. Those royal blue shorts are nearly as bad as Philip’s pink panties. (Text from Tsy: “Hey Wendell, I can see your Lando.”)

Jeff gives Wendell the choice of two people to take to the steak reward. He picks SeaAss as a thank you for the previous meal, and then picks Angela, stating she has not had many rewards. As Dom very graciously says Angela deserves it, Laurel rolls her eyes. She is unhappy that Wendell would take people who are her enemies in the game and fuel them up for the next competition. Gee, it isn’t like Wendell is playing for a million dollars for himself and not for her? She declares that she is going to go after “them” now, but all I hear is “Yanny.” Back at camp, Dom talks her off the ledge.

As for the rest, after the reward, Donathan, SeaAss, and Angela discuss how difficult it will be to get rid of Dom and Wendell, with their idols and safety. There is some discussion about whether Dom actually has two idols or one is a fake. Sebastian tells them about his extra vote advantage, which makes Angela feel like she has some power. Now, there is an old saying that knowledge is power and that is true. However, you have to keep your knowledge and use it at the right time. Angela keeps forgetting that part of it. She and Dom are lying on the beach and she spills the beans about Sebastian’s extra vote, thus cluing Dom in that he will be the target tonight. This gives him time to confer with Wendell. Honestly, Angela, all you are good for is eating terrible foods quickly. Your Survivor game play is on par with Donathan, the difference being you spill your guts on the beach and Donathan does so in tribal council. Speaking of which…

Tribal council time. Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Celadon Pottery shirt, for those keeping score at home. So, Laurel talks about pressure, and Donathan says he thinks he is going home. Probst FINALLY calls him out on saying that same thing every freaking tribal council and demands why this time it is different. The funniest part is when Jeff asks SeaAss if what Donathan says rings true and is he in trouble, and SeaAss responds with, “Yeah he does ring trouble…” I can’t write a joke any better than that malapropism. Dom loudly sighs and starts blowing up the tribal council by turning the tables. He first gets Donathan to say there is no conspiracy to take out Donathan, and then Dom just goes for broke, spilling the plot that SeaBass came up with to use the extra vote, which SeaBass admits to having. Dom pulls out his idols, one real and one fake but he pretends his fake one is real of course. Wendell piles on and it’s really kind of jerky of the two as they pull out all their idols and flash them at Donathan, taunting him. Wendell even calls him “bro” and then they go back and forth with the “bros.” It’s both hilarious and unnecessarily mean of them, and we can see Donathan shut down. Finally, Dom takes his fake idol and walks over to Probst and declares he is using this idol tonight so he is not going anywhere. Michael whispers to the rest of the jury that the idol is the fake one, but Dom really does his best to sell it. Luckily he is playing with idiots. Time to vote.

But before Jeff reads the votes, Dom stands up and holds up his note from his fake idol, explaining that it is a fake idol but its power came from trying to convince the other players that it was real and not vote him out. Probst confirms this and reads the votes.

Dom. Donathan. Sebastian. Sea Bass. Sebastian. That’s enough per Jeff and SeaBass’s torch is snuffed. Don’t worry about him, though. He’ll be lighting up soon enough.

The next day we head right into another Immunity Challenge. Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Dress Blues shirt, for those keeping score at home. Today the Survivors will swim to a platform, climb up and slide down. They will then have to swim to the beach and make their way through a series of obstacles while collecting two bags of puzzle pieces. First player to complete his puzzle – a deceptively simple one of four oddly shaped boxes that will form a pyramid if put together correctly – wins immunity. Like many of the puzzles this season, this a spatial challenge. And like many of the challenges this season, Angela and Donathan aren’t even close. Oh, but let’s pretend they have a snowball’s chance in Fiji to win. Survivors ready? GO! Wendell is faster than everyone else through the obstacles, but eventually they are all working on the puzzle at the same time, so if someone understood how the pieces fit together, they could have won. However, in the end it is the Wendell Show and he wins the prize of immunity.

Lavita Beach, Day 37. Two more days to go. The pre-tribal council strategy talk is not terribly interesting. Alright, that’s an understatement. Most of the pre-tribal council strategy talk has been extremely underwhelming. Dom educates us what “snap call” in poker means, but since this knowledge is only useful with actual cards and not the poker machines I prefer so I don’t have to interact with other humans, I am not keeping space in my head for this bit of info. Let’s just get to the action.

Tribal council. Night 37. Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Parliament Green shirt, for those keeping score at home. The jury files in and WHAT THE FUCK IS KELLYN WEARING? It looks like a halter top made from Astroturf. I bet Bradley told her it looked great on her. It does not. The gist of this tribal council is that Wendell has an idol necklace to give away, the one that Erik on Micronesia (Survivor 16) gave away and was immediately voted out. Wendell has the choice to break the curse and give the necklace to someone else, and he pretends for us and the jury that he really doesn’t know who he is going to give the necklace to tonight. Right. Let’s just get to the vote, shall we?

But before we read the votes, does anyone want to use a hidden immunity idol? Yes, Dom plays his idol. Then Wendell gets up and gives a lovely speech about Laurel reminding him of his sister and how she has been so loyal to him and he wants to reward that. Probably a smart move, because even though it didn’t matter at this tribal council, that loyalty will have paid off by the time we get to the end of this bloated monstrosity of a finale. Now can we read the votes, Probst?

Laurel. Does not count. Donathan. Sir Don Don. Donathan. And with that we are rid of Kentucky Bluegrass and his distracting overbite. As he brings his torch to Probst, he declares that he has has the “mostest experience” in his life. Yeah, that about sums up his Survivor arc.

Final Immunity Challenge time. Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Grizzle Gray shirt, for those keeping score at home. This challenge is one we saw recently: poles and balls, and I am not talking about Wendell’s Lando in his blue shorts. Using a large tuning fork, the Survivors will have to move six stands and six balls onto the top of a narrow pole while standing on a narrow, wobbly spring platform. Dom, Wendell, and Angela all get close, only to have their stacks fall at the last ball. Laurel never even comes close. Eventually, Dom manages to win this final immunity. Now he has to decide which of the other three will sit next to him at the final three and which two will battle it out on a fire making challenge. Wendell already knows he is going to be making fire, but there is no animosity about it toward Dom. Wow, look at Wendell adulting all over the Survivor beach. Oh, Probst gives Dom a parchment to read in private.

The Survivors are sent to Ghost Island rather than their beach camp for their final night. Of these four, only Angela has been to Ghost Island before so she leads them in to the shelter, where Dom makes fire for the group. Seriously? The rest of you know at least two of you will have to make fire and yet you still let Dom make it in this non-pressurized situation? Also stop showing close ups of spiders! This is not what I want to see in high def. Anyway, this is where Laurel loses me as a fan. On balance I’ve liked her throughout the season. She managed to make the right alliance and she stayed loyal. That was also a frustration as she knew she needed to cut those ties at some point but never did. Laurel takes a tone with Dom that is wheedling and on the fringe of whining about having to make fire against Wendell. Dom is irritated too, along with most of the audience outside of Laurel’s family. Dom then talks to Angela and clues her in on having to be the one who takes out Wendell in the fire making challenge. She also is not happy about it but accepts Dom’s firestarting lesson. While she practices, Dom follows a path up the hill on Ghost Island and reads the note from Probst. “Dear Dom,” it starts. “Do you like me? Check yes or not.” Also, there are three urns from past seasons where the winner of the final immunity picked the wrong person to go against in the final two: Australia (Colby lost to Tina), Cagayan (Woo lost to Tony), and Game Changers (Brad Culpepper lost to Sarah). Dom picks Cagayan, but he has a thought that got me SO excited for the tribal council: Dom could give immunity to Angela and take out Wendell himself in the firemaking challenge. Now THAT would be epic.

Tribal Council. Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Deep Sargasso Sea shirt, for those keeping score at home. And who cares what they have to say, let’s get to the action. Dom picks Laurel to go with him and Angela to make fire against Wendell. As the two sit down at their stations, it turns out Wendell is sitting at the one with an orange flag. This freaks him out because orange was Malolo and Malolo was cursed. I mean, he is really freaking out about it. Angela tells Probst she is a grown up and doesn’t give a rats ass where she sits because Angela is not an idiot. The jury collectively rolls their eyes, although Kellyn throws her hands up in the air. That is rich coming from the gal who believed she tempted the Survivor Gods by not wanting to go to Ghost Island. The contest itself is really no contest as Wendell handily wins and becomes the third finalist. Angela wanders off into the night after her torch is snuffed. So that is our final three and next up will be jury questions. Oh boy!

Day 39 has the final three doing reflection on the beach, but much like Angela I do not give a rat’s ass about it. They get their final breakfast basket and it reminds me I have an egg bagel ready for breakfast tomorrow morning, which makes me unreasonably happy. We live far away from any good Jewish deli and so finding a really good egg bagel is a rare occurrence. I’m still on a quest for a good half-sour pickle, though. Anyway…let’s get on with it.

Tribal Council, Night 39. Probst is wearing a Sherwin-Williams Glacier Basin shirt, for those keeping score at home. The jury comes in wearing the Fiji formal best, although Desiree still hasn’t located her suitcase that held her brassieres. Every time she wears one of those tube top dresses, I think of Creed Bratton's quote from The Office. But enough of this. Probst explains how things will now work: the jury will ask questions and then decide who is most deserving of the million dollars. Or, as has happened in several seasons, pick the least objectionable option of the ones who are left. The format is going to be as before, with three sections of questions based on outwit, outlast, outplay.

Have any of your seen that LG OLED TV commercial where the skinny, bearded fellow is delighted to find out his TV can tell him the name of an actor in a show on TV, dim his lights, and order up some Greek food? That guy is a fucking moron and I want to punch him in the scrum every time I hear his stupid laugh. I’ve never even hated Big Brother contestants as much as I hate that guy.

The gist of the Outwit part is Laurel claiming that she was part of the decision making and was a quieter partner to Dom and Wendell. Michael, who is sporting a perfect curl in the middle of his forehead, spells out that Dom had a great social game, while Wendell was often off making furniture and luxuries for their camp. Wendell claims that was part of his social game, knowing what they wanted to make life more comfortable and creating it. He claims he and Desiree, who appears to have a rubber band around her neck and it’s making me gag-choke just looking at it, discussed rappers ad infinitum. The Survivor editors cut to Rappin’ Chris Noble when that happens, which was awesome. Speaking of which, he wants to know who the mastermind is in their alliance, because it clearly wasn’t whoever decided to vote out Chris Noble, Male Model to the Stars. Wendell claims it’s him, Dom snorts. He refutes Wendell’s claim with his own examples. Probst changes to the Outplay portion and Laurel uses her one challenge that she won and that she was in a good position for the rest of the votes. Wendell lists how many things he built around camp, but Michael of the perfect curl interrupts him and asks about the idols. There isn’t much of an answer other than loyalty to his alliance. Dom’s example of outplay is using his fake idol and SeaAss calls him and Wendell out for their behavior that night, putting on their “bling bling.” For the record, Sebastian is totally stoned during the questioning. Who is surprised at this? Finally, the Outlast portion of our contest. Again, all Laurel has to add is that she knows she didn’t make a big move. She makes a good point that if she had taken one of the two big guns out, it would have benefited the jury members still in the game, not her. That’s fair. Dom is proud of playing hard and proud of his game, winning immunities and finding idols. Wendell thanks them for the opportunity to be himself out there. Boom. Done.

So now it is time to vote. We see Michael vote for Dominic, Sebastian for Wendell, Rappin’ Chris Noble for Dom, Kellyn for Wendell. Probst goes to get the votes and comes back. And he announces…he’s going to read the votes! What? WHAT? Everyone is shocked!! Mouths are hanging open! And he reads them!

Dominic. Wendell. Dom. Wendell. Dominic. Wendell. Dom! Wendell. Dominic. Wendell… And for the first time ever, there is a tie. Ooooo! Probst explains that the person who is not part of the tie, Laurel, becomes the final member of the jury and casts the deciding vote. She tells them she loves them and grabs the urn to go write down her vote. Dom’s face…oh my. His face is so defeated. He knows immediately that his game is over. Probst, however, is not going to put him out of his misery quite so soon. He takes the urn and gives his usual, “See ya!” then runs away with the final deciding vote.

Back at the finale, Probst emerges from the fake shrubbery and is grinning ear to ear. He pulls out Laurel’s vote and presents the winner of Survivor: Ghost Island: Wendell.

And it’s time to put Season 36 of Survivor to bed. We had our ups and downs, failed Ghosts and hosts with the most (dimples). We had bad raps and awesome diving, and an overabundance of advantages. We had way too many tribe switches, and a lot of interchangeable blondes, and a couple of strong personalities who ruled the game from start to finish.

See you for Survivor 37!

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Great job of recapping the season, Donna, and substitute recapper G. Unlike many seasons, I really enjoyed this season and was VERY happy with the winner.

And that Creed meme made me snort laugh. 

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