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Survivor 37 - Episode 14 - Finale: “Sometimes it takes a Goliath in your life to find the David in you.”

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Looks like we made it! Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t quote Barry Manilow when getting ready to wrap up one of the best seasons of Survivor in a long time, because now that song is going through my head. We need a distraction. Look, it’s Jeff Probst descending a faux stone staircase on set made up to resemble an island setting, if that island were designed by the same decorator who did Elvis’s Jungle Room. I’m ready for my luau.

Jeff, dressed from head to toe in an Ellen DeGeneres motif, reminds us of the people who left early in the game. Hey, it’s Pat! He’s alive! Also Lyrsa has a big tattoo of a green Member’s Only jacket on her arm now. I hope to the Lord Above that is a temporary tattoo, or that she at least kept the receipt. Seriously, my cat barfs up better looking artwork that that. Probst moves over to the jury, or at least those we know are on the jury, sans Alec. I think it is safe to say there were rumors that Alec was going to propose to Kara at the finale as a way to get himself invited, since he was unceremoniously DISinvited for breaking the ironclad non-disclosure agreement with CBS, but we never see hide nor hair of him the whole evening, except in a few reaction shots of the jury. Wonder if that Instagram post was worth it? Finally we see the final six Survivors, Alison, Mike, Davie, Nick, Kara, and Angelina. Some have cleaned up nicely (Alison) and some have sharp tailoring (Davie) and some look like they are one lab accident away from being a Batman villain (Nick).

Kalokalo, Night 36. Mike tells us what we already know: the Davids are crafty and have been diligent in searching for hidden immunity idols, advantages, and all the things that have spun the game on its head throughout the season. So three days from the end, the old Goliath members finally figured out they should get their asses out of the shelter and search for the idols themselves. Way to start playing the game, folks! Everyone is scrambling, poking through the jungle, on the beaches, in trees and rocks and…what the hell? Angelina finds it? Oh, wait, it’s a clue to where an idol is hidden. And it’s great, because of how this whole thing plays out. The clue says that the idol is hidden at the top of the rock behind the well, but rather than take a chance of someone falling off a slippery granite cliff that is at least one hundred feet high (per Angelina’s personal calculus), the Survivor Gods have provided a sturdy bamboo ladder buried in the sand. She is going to have to dig up the ladder and haul it to the well. She digs it up, but in the meantime loses the clue. You know who didn’t lose it? The cameraman. He/She got the shot. She takes a chance and climbs up, but finds nothing. The best part? She is certain she could have DIED! She literally almost DIED up there!! You know who is laughing at her the most? Pat, the David tribe member with the broken back from the first episode. Also laughing at her? Everyone else in the world.

Immunity AND Reward challenge time! Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Iron Mountain shirt, for those keeping score at home. The Survivors are going to race over obstacles that resemble table-sized hurdles, use a ball (BALLS!) and rope to hook a latch and release a series of puzzle steps. They will use the puzzle steps to assemble a staircase to a platform, where they will then assemble a SIXTY THREE piece puzzle to win immunity and reward. Want to know what they are playing for, other than a one-in-five chance at a million dollars? Sure you do. They are playing for my dinner. Yes, a spaghetti dinner with meat sauce and vegetarian sauce, garlic bread and cake for dessert. Sadly, I have no cake here. Survivors ready? GO!

Unsurprisingly, Davie and Nick are over the hurdles early, but it is Kara releasing her staircase pieces first, followed by Davie. Nick looks completely hapless, but not as bad as Alison does. You would think someone that tall would be able to just reach up and toss that ball in the latch. Anyway, she finally gets her staircase pieces and they are all building the staircase. Kara is the first to finish and start on the sixty-three (SIXTY-THREE!) piece puzzle. Alison is last to the final station, but she moves like a monster on it. Kara is almost done from the overhead shot. Nick approaches his puzzle very methodically, Davie’s pile looks like a mess, Angelina and Mike are getting close but suddenly Nick puts his last two pieces in and screams for Jeff. Yeah, he was shaking with nerves there, and looking at the other players, it seems Angelina was actually the closest. Once Nick has the necklace on, Probst tells him he gets to pick two people to have spaghetti with him. Alison looks like a sad, very tall puppy, pleading with him to choose her. She really does look awfully thin and she didn’t have a lot of flesh to lose as it was before the show. But Nick picks Angelina, and then when given a second choice, Davie speaks up. He tells Nick that since he was picked for the loved ones reward, he was okay with not having this one and Nick should pick someone else. Davie, that was such an adult move there and I bet your mom is very proud of you. So Nick picked Mike instead. The three surviving members of the hapless Jabeni tribe are going to eat some pasta together.

Alison has a bit of a meltdown. I am just going to ignore it because if I were in her shoes, I’d probably be gnawing on my own shoes at this point.

The reward happens to be at the well where an idol is hidden. My question is….was that the spot pre-planned for the reward or did the Survivor Gods decide to have it there, knowing it would tantalize Angelina to distraction? If so, brilliant move, producers. It forces Angelina to reveal her secret to Mike and Nick, along with her shame at losing the clue. She tells the men they are her brothers and they are marching in to war. Mike asks if they can have cake first. He is so drunk. Angelina tells them what she remembers about the clue, making sure they know she could have slipped and almost DIED! She drags Nick to get the ladder while Mike wanders around with his glass of red wine, snarking about the lost clue and calling a random thornbush a bitch when it stabs him in the forehead. He may have had that pent up from having to spend so much time with CutABitchFace. Anyway, he stumbles back to the well and even in his drunk haze, manages to point out to Angelina exactly where the idol is hidden. Nick starts to climb up and she asks him if she can do it, which he obliges. Later she tells us how great it is that SHE found the idol and how wonderful that she, as a woman has an idol.

Alison pulls Angelina aside to plead her case for voting out Davie rather than her. Angelina hears her out and then graciously informs her that she, Angelina, has been driving the last few evictions and could swing the vote either way. All the power is in her hands, so bow down and marvel over her mad negotiating skills to get cheap rice and a spot on her Survivor resume. The problem is Angelina has a desire for revenge against Alison for some previous betrayal that I can’t even remember. Meanwhile, the real power is Mike and Kara, discussing who they want to vote out: Davie.

Tribal Council time. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Thundercloud shirt, for those keeping score at home. The discussion is about the usual suspects: betrayals, alliances, trust. Also, where did Alison get shampoo? Because her hair looks fabulous. Davie recognizes there is a pecking order, and blah blah let’s get to the vote because there is a whole lot more show to get through. Davie. Alison. Alison. Davie. Davie. Davey. Sadly, Davie is out but he does not leave without a bang. First Nick tells him that he had no idea Davie was going, and Davie shoots back at him, “Of course you didn’t.” Then, as Probst snuffs his torch, he turns to the remaining tribe members and says that whoever orchestrated this blindside is guaranteed his vote. Mike whispers that he orchestrated it, and I am guessing that Angelina did not hear that because you know she would have had a twenty three point rebuttal to that statement.

Post tribal, here is what is significant: Nick is pissed that people lied. Yes, people lied on Survivor. I know as an public defender attorney, Nick is used to being around people who only tell the truth at all times, so this has got to be a real shock to his system. His hissy fit is enough that Mike starts thinking it might be a good time to get rid of Nick. And for Mike’s game, that might have been a good move. But there is a little something called the immunity challenge that someone other than Nick has to win first.

Immunity challenge! Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Cool Ashes shirt, for those keeping score at home. This is another multipart challenge. The Survivors will have to stand on a very tall pole in the lagoon. They will have to lower a leaky bucket into the water and pour water into a tube in order to raise a buoy with a key on it. Once they get the key, they will have to swim to shore, use the key to unlock a boatload of puzzle pieces – but at least not SIXTY THREE of them this time – and solve a vertical puzzle. Probst gives a hint that the puzzle is a face, though it turns out it is an abstracted design suggestive of a face. It would have been a lot more fun if the face had been, say, Rupert or one of the many Hantz family members who have disgraced this show. Survivors ready? No…Alison cannot balance on the pole, which is surprising since they are shaped the same. Finally she is steady enough for Probst to say his line. Survivors ready? GO! Funny enough, Alison is the first to get her key, despite her shaky start. She has an advantage, though, as her reach is twice as long as the rest of them. Nick finishes second so he and Alison, the two vulnerable people, are working on their puzzles around the same time. Funny enough, Nick just once again methodically works through the pieces and wins immunity. Boom.

Post challenge…well, let’s just call this Reasons Why Angelina Sucks. She pulls Nick and Mike aside to reveal her master plan. Since she has an idol and this is the last tribal where it can be played, she wants desperately to create some drama and buzz about her person and the best course of action is to have Kara and Alison vote for her to be evicted, so she can pull out her idol with a flourish in front of the jury. She also wants to create a fake idol and have Alison find it and use it at tribal, only to be voted out, so Angelina can crow about how she made that happen. She clearly says this is only to look like a badass. Mike is not having it, though of course to her face he gives nothing away. As he tells us later her Survivor strategy is from outer space, this is Day 37. They are all fried. No one needs all these theatrics now. Mike has no desire to lie to Kara at his point, so he spills the beans about Angelina’s plan, while we watch the fake idol being made and hidden. Kara, meanwhile, talks to Alison about possibly voting out Mike. She talks to Nick about it, who tells her he is open to options. On the other hand, when Nick talks to Kara, she rightly points out that Alison is really well liked by everyone on the jury. I don’t see that, but then they spent a lot more time out there with each other on the island, while I have watched them for an hour every week from the comfort of my couch. Clearly I know more than they do.

Oh, Alison found the fake idol crafted by Angelina, so she’s got that going for her, which is nice.

Tribal council time. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Private Jet shirt, for those keeping score at home. This was a fun tribal council, mostly because Mike seemed like he was still plastered from the spaghetti dinner, and Angelina did not get her big moment to show off. That makes me happy. When Alison makes a comment in response to Probst that Mike is a threat at the end, Mike acts like a jerk, rolling his eyes and snotting, “Whatever” in his best Valley Girl tone. He compounds his rudeness by saying that there is something about leaving it all out on the island and there is something to leaving the game with a shred of dignity, which seems way, waaaaay over the line. In fact the jury members do not look happy with his remark at all. There was an awkward pause by all, including Probst. After several more, “Whatevers” from Nick, it is time to vote. In a final dig at her, Mike writes her name down on the voting parchment with a B+ in the corner and harshly says that she may get straight A’s in life but in Survivor she gets *tap taps the parchment* a B-plus. Maybe lay off the wine, Mike? Also, we don’t see Kara vote, but her words include, “I don’t want to give Angelina the satisfaction of playing an idol correctly.” Love it. Now it is time for Probst to tally the votes….but first! Again! He asks if someone would like to use an immunity idol. Alison stands up, saying she is nearly certain her idol is not real but she sees no harm in having Probst check it out. Then Angelina interrupts, claiming credit for making the fake idol and bringing out her real idol and playing it. She says a few more things, while the jury rolls their collective eyes and Gabby says what we are all thinking: Angelina can’t stop talking about herself! Let’s just get to the votes: Mike. Alison. Alison. Alison. Well, she outlasted a lot of them. I think she’s a nice person. I’m glad she has no chance of winning.

Final immunity challenge time! Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Blackout shirt, for those keeping score at home. He’s rocking the dark side this season. This is a challenge we have seen before: a Rube Goldberg mousetrap device. The Survivors will have one hand tied behind their back, while they drop a ball (BALLS!) to run through the track, catch it before it falls and start it over again. Eventually there will be up to seven balls in the mousetrap. This gives Probst multiple opportunities to say the word “balls.” Everyone survives the one-ball challenge and moves on to dropping two balls. BALLS! Eventually there are three balls. “Everyone now with three BALLS!” says Jeff. Oh, Angelina is out first. Waa waa. It doesn’t matter, they are all going to bring Angelina to the final three because she sucks so bad. Mike is the second one out and it is down to Kara vs. Nick. Added the fourth ball is what does Kara in at the end, and Nick wins immunity. He is now in the driver’s seat and will pick who goes with him and who has to make a fire to get into the final three.

Post challenge, Nick decides to take Angelina and lets Mike and Kara compete against each other. Of course Angelina tells us that she’s a closer, and she convinced Nick to take her. Sometimes her level of delusion is astronomically comically.

Tribal Council. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Fresh Artichoke shirt, for those keeping track at home. Jeff doesn’t waste a lot of time and goes right to asking Nick who he is taking to the final three. He explains that he has the least amount of chance if he is next to Kara or Mike, which is a direct slam on Angelina, though she only sees it as a compliment. What must it be like to live with that kind of confidence and sense of self-importance? Anyway, the fire challenge is about as exciting as Probst’s narration of the events. Cutting to the chase, the underdog of the Goliath tribe, Mike, wins the fire challenge, sending Kara to the jury without ever receiving a vote.

Day 39 dawns with yet another beautiful Fijian sunrise. It is such a lovely place and would be a wonderful visit, except the Survivor editors keep showing all kinds of spiders and creepy crawlies so nope. All three finalists give us their self-reflections. Nick has always been a David, being the only person in law school who grew up in a trailer, Angelina thinks she had the best journey and she was the most transformative, and Mike is proud of being the Iago to a variety of Othellos along the way.

Final Tribal Council. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Peaceful Blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. He gives his usual speech, encapsulating the season’s twist (David vs. Goliath) and what it means in the context of the game and blah de blah blah blah. Get on with the jury questions already!

The format is the same as it has been the last couple of seasons: the jury will ask questions based on the three different aspect of Survivor: outwit, outlast, outplay. I really like this change in the game, because it seems to have prevented bitter jury syndrome questions. Or the casting has produced better players who don’t take everything so personally. Either way, this format works well. Probst starts with the Outwit part of the game. Elizabeth opens with a statement that almost all of the jurors are undecided. She advises all of them to be honest, and not politicians because that is just going to piss her off and you know how she gets when she is pissed! She gets voted out! Christian asks for an example of how they outwitted. Nick brings up his multiple alliances and names them, which, dude, those alliance names should never be used on conjunction with the term “wit.” John asks Mike about his outwit stuff, but before Mike can answer, Angelina interrupts and gets her statement in about herself and how she outwitted people by being socially adaptable, and also negotiating for more rice…and there it is. Davie cements my love for him forever when he interrupts Angelina and reminds her that a selfless act is supposed to be, you know, SELFLESS. Ha! Once Mike is finally allowed to speak, he talks about his final two deals with a bunch of people. His best response, however, it talking about how once he got to the Goliath tribe and just about everyone else was “Baywatch” he started playing a character, slightly hapless and just happy to be on Survivor. Gabby talks to Angelina and congratulates her on being the last woman standing and then makes a speech about how differently women are treated in the game. It’s true. There is talk later about how only fifteen percent of the women actually find idols, which has been confirmed. There have been explanations about that, which lie along gender roles, but it does make me wonder now that this stat is out in the open if more of the younger women will become aggressive in searching out idols. I hope so.

Moving on to the Outplay portion of our evening, Probst once again opens up questions to the jury. Dan asks Mike why he was so scarce around camp. Mike owns up to being a weakling when it comes to things like building shelter, but he was surprised at how well he did on the challenges. Davie then asks for Nick to explain why he is a Goliath and for Angelina to explain why she is a David. Naturally, she launches into a long-ass explanation of her prodigious idol-finding skills and how she “literally” climbed to the top of the waterfall rock and was stuck up there one hundred feet up there! Alison checks her measurements, and Angelina backtracks to say maybe fifty feet (later Probst mentions it was about eight feet, so only off by a little bit there). Alison asks why she made the fake idol and if the intent was to embarrass her. Angelina denies, denies, denies, but Nick objects and confirms it was to embarrass Alison. There is some scrambling to say the real intent was to keep Mike safe, but I’m not sure how that works when Alison is the one with alleged immunity. Why wouldn’t that drive votes to Mike? Maybe it’s too late and I’ve been staring at the computer and the TV screens too long. Finally, Nick gets to answer why he is a Goliath. He admits on the surface that he does not come across as a Goliath, but he has a natural ability to connect, he can do puzzles, and he has intelligence in the challenges.

Finally it is Outlast. Probst explains this is the personal journey for the finalists. Angelina feels like she is the most battle-tested out there and her story is one of strength. Nick’s attorney skills are at the forefront here. He makes so many good points about his game and ties it in to the theme of the season. First, he feels like he is up against the whole Philistine army as the last David. He also talks about the fact that experiencing his mother passing away from a drug overdose lead him to a career trying to help people to rehab rather than jail, and convince them that as long as there is still a breath in their body, life is worth fighting for, and the game is worth playing with whatever slingshot he could find. Finally, Mike has the final say. He wanted to play, but he struggled with what he was playing for, what was the worth of playing the game and winning. And with that, it is finally time to vote for a winner.

Voting begins. We see John vote for Nick, explaining that Nick hit all the outwit, play, last highlights. Gabby approaches the voting booth and starts crying. I would like to request that Davie pray to God that Gabby is not allowed to be on this show again because I could not take the emotional turmoil another time. And yes, I think I just jinxed it. Finally, we see Christian vote for Mike, saying he played a “transformative” game and dude, are you high? How in the world was Mike’s gameplay transformative? It was good but….that word does not mean what you think it means, Dr. Robotics.

Probst moves to the live set with the voting urn. Let’s find out who won!











The Kentucky public defender wins. And Angelina got no votes. That’s the best part of all!

Now I think I’ll go have some rice. I negotiated it from my local Safeway by bargaining some cold, hard cash.

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