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Survivor 38 - Episode 14 - A Winner is Crowned (With An Asterisk)

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Since we are nearly twenty-four hours past the finale and, presumably, everyone knows who won the title of Sole Survivor, I will start off by saying that no matter how much I rag about this season’s twist and format, Chris himself comes across as a thoughtful, kind person who would not hesitate to help a kitten stuck in a tree. Chris is a good guy. He made all the right moves in his brief time on the stage. But this season’s game was weighted in favor of the Dinosaur Island people. Oh, I don’t mean it was specifically rigged that way because I’m not actually a conspiracy theorist when it comes to reality shows. But the person coming back from Extinction had a lot of time to form bonds with the vast majority of jury voters. This advantage is ENORMOUS, and it plays out at the end. What chance did Gavin or Julie have to win votes from people who never had a conversation with them in the course of the game? However, in the end, of the final three, the right person won, if only for the wrong reasons.

We start with the usual awkward live segment. Probst dressed in soft gray cashmere from head to toe and a hairstyle that might best be described as “shocked.” (Message from Tsylyst: “Jeff dressed himself from Ellen’s closet.”) He shows us the cleaned up contestants: quitters, dinosaurs, final five. The most striking thing is that Lauren is dressed like she is about to leave for her job as a boudoir decoration. She’s wearing a magenta satin slinky peignoir with a leg slit up to her hip. So glad we are airing this in the family hour! Her expression is also somewhere north of “ate a bunch of sour grapes.” Jeff is thrilled to tell us that we will soon find out who wins the title of the Sole! Survivor! If by “soon” he means in two and a half bloated hours, then yes.

Back to the non-live part of the show, aka the part we actually care about. Challenge arena is set up and the remaining Survivors, Dadbod Rick, Julie, Gavin, Freckles, and Lauren assemble, then Probst, who is wearing a Valspar Paint Dreamy Clouds shirt, for those keeping score at home, calls in the Extinction Island Dinosaurs. He gives a life-affirming speech about how awesome they are for sitting on a pretty beach doing virtually nothing for a combined total of 151 days. Not sure how I would spin that on my resume. He drops the bomb that now they will compete against each other for a chance to return to the game. It is not really a bomb, since everyone else figured that out weeks ago. It is more like the poof that happens when you close a bottle of talcum powder. The challenge is multipart and mostly physical so you know our options are going to be Hellooooo Eric, Chris, or Joe’s Mustache at the end. Maybe Aurora, if I can remember she is there. The first part is a rope maze, then use pieces of ropes to make a ladder and cross it, then finally maneuver a ball through a table maze. First to finish gets back in. Survivors ready? GO! Of course the first thing we hear is Reem Daly making grunts and groans. Even Probst calls her out at one point when she grouses, “Oh come on dude!” Jeff makes fun of her overuse of the word “dude.” Out early are Joe and Eric, with Aurora and Kelley not far behind. Funny enough, Ron and Warthog are dead last. Aurora is already up to the table maze while they are still trying to get through the first part of the challenge. I had forgotten how much they suck. Table maze finds Aurora in the lead with Joe and Eric and Chris. Kelley and David catch up. Probst has a blast yelling about who has dropped their BALLS! Finally we are down to Joe’s Mustache and Chris and it is Chris who manages to get his BALLS dropped into the hole. Congrats on puberty, Chris. Tepid applause. Probst waxes poetic about the purpose of Extinction Island and how the idea was to put people out there with nothing and basically no hope. He asks Reem Daly what was her darkest moment and she blathers on about being her most miserable that first night. Luckily after that she was able to make everyone else even more miserable, so good job. At one point when she is talking, David pats her kindly on the shoulder and she shrugs him off. Now, in the same situation I would probably do the same thing, but since I can’t stand Reem Daly and her endless string of bitter complaints, I’m going to call it a foul. Get off my TV screen, you grumpy tart, and never come back.

On the live set, Probst brings out Joe’s Mustache and tries to get him to commit to both returning to another season and also cutting his hair. Joe actually seems up for it – both the return and the hair cut – but Jeff chickens out and cuts to commercial. Boo!

Vata. Day 35. Chris introduces himself to the people who have no idea who he is, which is to say everyone except Lauren and Dadbod Rick. In an effort to make himself seem like less of a threat, he pretends that if he goes home tomorrow he’s cool. Freckles isn’t buying it, and of course she’s right. She’s worried about him hooking up with the former Manu tribemates. Dadbod Rick and Chris meet up on the beach and work out an alliance to stick together. Chris swears he wants to sit next to Rick at the end (LIAR!) and asks if Rick’s idol is real. The realness is confirmed. Next, he moves on to Lauren and tells her that the jury respects someone who makes big moves, and then drops a little info her way: Kelley said that Lauren has to play her idol correctly for herself or someone else to have a big enough move. Innnnnteresting. Did she really say that? Lauren isn’t sure and compares forming alliances to dating. Also, she would drop a perfectly good boyfriend for a chance to get in the sack with Ryan Reynolds. Might want to check with Ryan’s wife first.

Day 36. Challenge beach. Probst is wearing a Valspar Pain Semi-Sweet shirt, for those keeping score at home. A multipart challenge involves obstacles (rope trap, hurdles, balance beam) where a bag containing numbers for a combination will need to be retrieved. Once the lock is opened, Survivors will be able to get puzzle pieces for a vertical puzzle. They will get immunity and, oh guess what? There is also a reward! What is it? Steak and chocolate cake. That seems like an awfully sparse menu, but sure. Constipation sounds like fun! Survivors ready? GO! The physical part is won by Chris of course, but the puzzle is owned by Julie. At the end, she has one middle piece to go but can’t get it in place without risking the entire puzzle collapsing. The top of it looks ready to tumble, but then Chris starts talking her through her panic and manages to coach her to get the final piece in without the puzzle falling apart. Dadbod Rick is in disbelief that Chris is helping her. Rick and the rest of us. WTF, Chris? Did you forget what game you are playing? After giving Julie the immunity necklace, Probst tells her she can pick one player to join her. She picks Chris, which was a good move since he helped her win. Then Jeff says she gets one more choice and she picks the man who helped her survive the last vote. HAHAHA! No she didn’t, she picked Lauren. Dadbod Rick cannot hide his disappointment and Lauren cannot help but roll her eyes. Didn’t her mother ever warn her that her face might freeze like that? Well it has happened because that is the same expression we see on her every week.

At the reward meal, Julie works on Chris to get Dadbod Rick out. He tells them that it is between Rick and Freckles for the jury, which sounds like a line of bullshit to me. Are they going to vote for Freckles because she was so brave in wearing a woolen cap on a tropical island? Lauren, for her parts, doesn’t believe Rick’s idol is real and neither does Julie because why else would he show it at tribal council? Oh, you mean like when he used it to save Julie’s skinny ass and get Aurora voted out? Chris says he will try to determine if Rick’s idol is real, but in the meantime they should split votes between Rick and Freckles. Speaking of whom, Freckles complains to Gavin that Julie can’t be so stupid as to fuel the competition, and Gavin just says in a deadpan tone, “Well, it’s Julie.” Most hilarious line of the season! And that includes any of the claptrap that fell out of Warthog’s mouth. Freckles wants to get out Chris, and approaches Dadbod Rick about working together to get the returnee out tonight. Rick, for his part, doesn’t want to screw over Chris again. He considers what Freckles says, however, since it makes sense. Once he and Chris talk, though, he asks if there was anything in the younger man’s bag when he returned since Rick got something on his own return to the game. Sure enough, there is the two part idol that was used by David and Dadbod Rick earlier. He gives half the idol to Rick as an effort to show trust. They discuss scenarios and Chris really feels like the only way he will be safe is if Lauren plays her idol for him. She agrees to play her idol for him IF Dadbod Rick plays his idol. She promises one hundred percent!

Tribal council time. Probst is wearing a Valspar paint Sea Salt Blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. The conversation is fairly standard, except when Probst asks Dadbod Rick about not being chose by Julie for the food reward. He grows genuinely emotional in trying to talk about his feelings of being left behind, which on a human level I think we can all understand. Then he makes a joke about not wanting Hellooooo Eric’s firefighter friends making fun of him, and that is totally a Dadbod Rick thing to say. Lighten the emotional moment with a bad joke. He feels he was worn down by always being on the bottom and always being public enemy number one. Freckles thinks the boat should not be rocked. Well, of course not, since she has been in a majority alliance pretty much the entire game. And with that it’s time to vote.

Probst goes to tally the votes. If anyone has an immunity idol, now is the time to play it. Dadbod Rick raises his hand and brings his idol to Probst to be played for himself. Jeff confirms it is real. Now Lauren looks on with dread, but she made a promise so she STUPIDLY gets out her idol and gives it to Jeff to play for Chris. Probst confirms it is real. Kelley looks at Lauren with a lot of pride in her smile. Probst reads the votes. Rick. Does not count. Devens. Does not count. Devens. Does not count. Chris. Does not count. Vic. Victoria. And with that, Freckles is out of the game. She, like many of the others voted out, is cheerful in her goodbyes and she tells Gavin she is voting for him. Way to put a target on him! And someone throw that woolen cap into the fire, please.

Post-tribal, we find out that Dadbod Rick six days earlier managed to create two fake idols and hide them with the notes and wrappings from his earlier idols. This is what happens when you leave a clever kid alone to his own devices for too long! He starts creating trouble. He also gets up in the middle of the night to search for the real idol and manages to find it! Seriously, Rick has played this game so hard. I may not have always agreed with some of his choices, like when he didn’t listen to David in an earlier vote, not to mention yelling out “La Cheeserie!” like a total doofus after winning a challenge, but the man has played hard and had kept his feet to the fire. I am pretty pleased with the fact that he found it yet again. Julie saw him find it, but considers that since two idols were played, there are two out there to be found and what do you know? She finds one! Except it’s one of Dadbod Rick’s fake idols! He and Chris share a giggle, and Rick gives his half of the idol back to Chris. Meanwhile, Julie runs to Lauren and shows her the idol. Lauren is sad, but not for long because what happens? She finds a little hidden scroll that says it is a clue to a hidden immunity idol back at camp! It is on a tree above the shelter! Hey, wait a minute! This sounds familiar. Well, of course it does. It’s the clue Dadbod Rick found, so he has very cleverly placed his fake idol above the shelter for some sucker named Lauren to find. I mean…this is all kinds of awesome. Rick happens to spot her poking around the shelter and he can barely contain himself.

I’d like to take a brief interlude right now to remember Bob Crowley, winner of Survivor 17 (Gabon), Bob Crowley, who first engineered the use of fake immunity idols and thereby changed the game in a positively hilarious way.

Immunity challenge time. Probst is wearing a Valspar Paint Thundering Clouds shirt, for those keeping score at home. This is one of those killer challenges: set out in the lagoon over impossibly turquoise water, there are six stations with obstacles that the Survivors must cross to collect six bags of puzzle pieces and complete a large block puzzle. The obstacles are a disc bridge, balance beam, swing steps, bamboo crawl, two-line bridge, and beam & ladder. Scary stuff! Survivors ready? GO! Everyone is playing, pardon the expression Jeff, BALLS out. No one is slacking just because they have, or think they have, an immunity idol. Chris, of course, is faster collecting his pieces, but it comes down to Gavin and Dadbod Rick, who was second to last in collecting his pieces. Probst is all over the comeback victory and when Rick actually does squeak by Gavin’s rather commendable effort, Jeff declares victory with his hands in the air in joy. Yeah, if you don’t think Dadbod Rick is coming back for another season of Survivor at some point, you have not been paying attention for thirty eight seasons.

Post challenge, Gavin assumes he is going home and when Dadbod Rick comes over to him, Gavin says he will be indebted to him. Rick asks for a promise that if Gavin wins the challenge the next day he will not make Rick do the firemaking fire-off for the third position in the final three. Though he may be young, Gavin is not stupid and he follows MrsGryn’s Rule of Reality Shows: always say yes and decide later. He assures Dadbod Rick that he will not force him into the fire challenge if he uses the idol to save Gavin tonight. Gavin clearly knows he will lose – as will any of them – to Rick in the finale, so he makes the promise and will cross that swinging rope bridge when he comes to it. Gavin, Julie, and Lauren all agree to vote out Chris. Basically all five people think they are safe tonight.

Tribal Council. Probst is wearing a Valspar Paint Midnight Fog shirt, for those keeping score at home. Probst starts with Dadbod Rick and the fact that it is his fourth immunity win. The rest of the conversation involves who would sit next to Chris in a firemaking challenge, which no one wants to do. More talk about Lauren using the idol on Chris the previous tribal. And more talk about the firemaking choices, pairings, etc. It’s boring and I don’t care. Let’s get to the fun stuff! Time to vote.

Probst goes to tally the votes. He brings the urn back and says, “If anyone has a hidden immunity idol, tonight is the last night you can play it.” There is a dramatic pause. Julie goes first and brings up her immunity idol. Ron LOVES it! She hands it to Jeff, who examines it and intones….”This idol….is FAKE.” The jury busts up laughing and Ron is SHOCKED! Close that mouth before a stinging wasp finds its way into that gaping hole, Ron. Julie is mortified. Now Lauren stands up and goes to Jeff, saying she hopes hers is real. She hands him her idol and the jury looks surprised and highly interested. Probst examines her idol and intones, “This idol is…FAKE. Any votes cast for Lauren will still count.” The jury is laughing and slapping each other on the back, they are having so much fun. Even Aurora is smiling and looking like she isn’t sitting on a tack for a change. So what happens next? Dadbod Rick raises his hand and says, “I’ll give it a shot, Jeff.” He hands his idol to Probst and says, “I will play this idol…for Gavin.” The jury now all has their jaws hanging open. Chris looks totally hurt, like he is about to cry, and says, “Dude! Are you serious?” Probst confirms that this idol is real and any votes cast for Gavin will not count. Chris finally says, “Well, I hate to poop on everyone’s parade, but I might just have to play this one as well. Playing it for myself.” Probst confirms that his idol is also real and that any votes cast for him will not count. Then he asks, “Anyone else?” The jury LOVES it. Finally it is time to read the votes.

Chris. Does not count. Chris. Does not count. Chris. Does not count. Lauren. Lauren. And she’s out. She wishes everyone luck.

Day 38. Immunity challenge time. Probst is wearing a Valspar Paint Sea Spring shirt, for those keeping score at home. This is one of those challenges that can be so heartbreaking and difficult, but at least is one that anyone can win. Survivors will have to stack blocks spelling out “Final3” on a precarious ledge, while holding the wobbly ledge steady with a rope and moving back and forth on a dragon-boat shaped rocking beam. This is a slow and steady challenge, but it is, as Probst says, the biggest challenge of the season. There are a lot of dropped blocks. The early lead is Julie, who is very steady and slow. Gavin and Dadbod Rick are pathetic on this challenge. Chris drops a few times but manages to stay steady after figuring out the correct balance. The key is not to pull the rope holding the ledge too far back as that pulls the ledge and knocks the blocks off. But there cannot be too much slack on the rope because then the ledge will fall forward. Finally, in the end, Chris manages to place the final block, scoot himself back along the rocking beam and as he slowly eases toward the line to indicate the finish, he wins! It is now up to Chris to figure out who will need to earn their spot in a fire making challenge.

Back at camp, everyone congratulates Chris on a job well done with a difficult challenge. And LO! There are firemaking supplies at camp. Three bundles. Chris suggests everyone practice their skills at burning things. This makes me nostalgic for two things: when the camp was burned up by the final two/three before their final tribal council in front of the jury, and that the Survivors had to learn about making fire on their own or during the preceding 39 days. Now the supplies are handed to them. I think this is bullshit. Now everyone knows that there is a possibility of needing this particular skill at the end of the game. If they choose not to learn, as apparently Julie never bothered to, then they should die by the consequences of their own choices. It’s SURVIVOR not Walk-In-The-Park. Chris has conversations with all three of the remaining tribemates, who make their pitches. Dadbod Rick plays the loyalty card, but he knows he is in a bad spot since he is pretty much a shoe-in to win if he stays in. Chris outright tells him that he will HAVE to make fire tonight. Gavin asks Chris to help him be prepared to make fire because they both agree that Julie doesn’t stand a chance against Rick. Tellingly, Chris mentions that tonight the best person to take on Dadbod Rick will make fire against him at tonight’s tribal. There is a montage of fire-making practice with a voiceover from Chris talking about being at a high-stakes poker table. Yeah, that’s Survivor for you. Sometimes you make a great run on the table like Dadbod Rick, but at the end some upstart in mirrored sunglasses and a sweet smile swoops in and steals the pot.

Tribal Council time. Probst is wearing a Valspar Paint Hanging Vine shirt, for those keeping score at home. The jury troops and Freckles has a new woolen cap. Lauren has chosen the Slutty Daisy Mae look for her first impression. She’s a cute girl, I don’t know why she feels she has to try so hard. Don’t show ‘em all your goods right away, honey! Also, does this mean I’ve officially crossed over to Hectoring Old Lady territory? Probst starts his jury questioning with poking at the fire. Julie is happy to go with whatever Chris chooses to do. Gavin says do not pick him to be safe, and Dadbod Rick says, well hey, that’s great! They both volunteered to make fire, so that means I’m in! The jury loves it, of course, because they love Rick. Probst loves it, too, but Chris says it is just another thing for Gavin to put on his resume by taking out the favored player of the season. He goes on to say that he doesn’t want to have any regrets so he is taking a risk by giving up his immunity necklace – the jury is wriggling with glee at this move – and Chris puts it around Julie’s neck. Then Chris announces he will be making fire against Dadbod Rick for the final spot in the finale. All Probst can says is, “Wow!” He confirms that Julie and Gavin are in the final tribal council, and that due to the prevailing Fijian winds, the fire making challenge will happen in the voting booth. This is in response, I think, to a previous season where the wind actually helped someone burn their rope first. The gentlemen get started, both getting small flames. They have to keep trying, but I think the difference is that Chris build a small stick structure first while Dadbod Rick was trying to start the fire with the straw tinder without having something for it to catch on to. At one point, Warthog tells the others that it’s over for Dadbod Rick, which gave me some hope. Alas, however, Chris’s stick teepee is what did it and got him the win and the spot in the finale. It was a baller move on Chris’s part, for sure. This is what I mean when I say that in the short time Chris was back in the game, he did everything exactly right. I just don’t like that someone basically sits out the game for four weeks and is able to swoop back in at the last minute. Dinosaur Island may have been sparse in its resources, but Chris was not doing challenges every other day or trekking to Tribal, or worrying about the emotional twists and plotting that was needed for Dadbod Rick to survive as long as he did. Devens earned this season, whether you like him or not. Probst gives him an opportunity to say what the game meant to him and Dadbod Rick says he did not come out to learn about himself or change, he just came out to win a million dollars, but that the game has a way of changing you in ways you never saw coming. The jury looks on him with affection and pride, and Freckles manages to wipe away a tear. Of course, it might have been sweat due to wearing woolen cap on a tropical island, but sure, let’s call it emotion. He gets a round of applause from everyone, which is pretty affirming for him.

Back on the live show, Gray Probst brings the cleanly shaven and suit wearing Rick Devens out onstage where the audience gives him a standing ovation. He talks a little about his game, about how Chris on Extinction Island was magnanimous and kind to him, so Rick just could not hold on to that half-idol, even though it would have helped his game. Probst brings up that Rick is an anchor in Macon, GA, and mentions that it is a small market for television. He asks Dadbod Rick if he is open to other opportunities, which Rick says, enthusiastically, SURE! I found that exchange a bit distasteful, much like Lauren’s fashion choices. It seems unlikely that Dadbod Rick needs that extra boost for more job offers after his high profile Survivor run, so basically begging for offers on TV does not, as Judge Judy says, pass the smell test.

Back to the beach. Vata, Day 39. Survivor breakfast feast time. This is the opportunity for each player to go over their game and consider what has happened before answering jury questions. Each of them are proud of what they have done in their own ways. Julie wanted to prove to her children that she was strong and capable, Chris wanted to play an honest game, and Gavin is banking on his social game.

Tribal Council, Night 39. Probst is wearing a Valspar Paint Metropolis shirt, for those keeping score at home. The jury files in and Dadbod Rick has a Lauren-esque sour expression on his face, but it quickly turns into a bright smile and the final three return it. Probst, sticking with the format that Survivor began a few seasons ago, opens up the questioning to the jury, beginning with the “Outwit” part of the game. David starts, asking which relationship was most important part of the game. Gavin says Freckles. Chris says it was Rick, but also because of having to go to Jurassic Park, he could have been bitter against Dadbod but went past it. Julie says it was Ron and Eric, but also Lauren that was building up behind the scenes. Aubry wants to know from Chris how he worked the social politics on Dinosaur Island to his advantage. Chris smartly says that while they were outside of the game, but they were all still in the game. He cooked and caught stingrays, etc. Gavin calls foul, since only Chris can speak to that question, and Dadbod Rick pipes up to give Gavin the opportunity to talk about his own social game play. He says he built bonds and trust so people would come to him with information. Chris actually then interrupts Gavin to ask his own question: was he building relationships as someone in charge or as a goat to bring to the end? The younger man answers the question, but the jury is not happy about that. Kelley claims she was offended by Chris asking a question and just shut the eff up, Wentworth. You are on a reality game show. Granted it is the best reality game show on TV, but still being offended by a natural outgrowth of a freeform format is just stupid. That said, you shut the eff up, too, Chris. What a stupid thing to do. Dadbod Rick asks Julie to answer to same question, who owns being a neurotic, emotional person. She claims she wasn’t so much using her emotional self to build relationships as she was just not trying to hide those emotions. Julia is not so enthralled by this, but Freckles gives Julie a chance to bring up a big move and she mentions the vote where Julia left, claiming some responsibility for that scatterfest of a tribal council. Both Dadbod Rick and Warthog take exception to her claims and pushback. Julie appears to not have a chance with this jury, which is not surprising. For the big move question, Gavin says having to engineer voting out Aubry and Joe, even though his Survivor loving heart wanted to work with them, was a big part of his game. Aubry, ever the egomaniac, snots that she felt like a “piece of taxidermy” out there but that Gavin at least pretended that he was willing to work with her. Oh, Aubry. It is always all about you, isn’t it? Chris brings up his big move getting Lauren to use her idol on him and save him on that first tribal, not to mention taking her idol out of contention for her own use. Lauren gives him full credit for playing him like a violin, though she still manages to make a sour face. Probst at this point asks the jury to raise their hands if they are still undecided. Everyone other than David, Ron, Kelley, and Reem Daly raise their hands. The surprise for me there is Freckles I would have thought Gavin was in the bag for her, so either she is fooling the final three or herself here.

Probst moves to the “Outplay” part of the game, pretending that Jurassic Park was part of the Outplay portion. Dadbod Rick asks why they weren’t all out looking for idols. Julie claims she was, but the best answer was from Gavin saying he was almost always on the side with the numbers so it wasn’t really a factor for him to exert himself. I mean…it’s the best answer for him, but at the same time if YOU have an idol then you prevent an opponent from getting one. So really, it is a stupid answer. Just say you were lazy, Gavin. I can respect that. Rick asks if Chris thinks it is an unfair advantage by coming in during the last three days of the game with all this time away and all the information gleaned from the rest of the Dinosaurs. Chris pretends it was not an advantage, but that is total bullshit because every single person watching this season knows it was a fantastic advantage. Again, not taking anything away from how Chris handled himself in those three eventful days, but to claim coming back in was not advantageous is just balderdash. Dadbod Rick advocates for Gavin by asking everyone who did not have their name written down, ever, in the game raise their hand. Gavin is the only person who can raise his hand, which really does speak to social game play on his part.

Finally, we come to the “Outlast” portion of our program, or as I like to call it, the downhill slope. Probst defines this as their chance to sum up their journey from Day One to Day Thirty-nine. Gavin starts out by saying he played with his heart for the people back home, especially for his wife. Chris acknowledges his desire to play with total control and getting blindsided, and then rebuilding his game in three days. Julie gets emotional. Is anyone surprised? She says she is non-confrontational but she learned that she is strong and valuable and has achieved clarity. And there we are. Speeches done, the die is cast. Time to vote.

We see none of the votes cast, which is interesting. Probst goes to grab the urn and takes off with his prize. Like many of us, we miss the days when he jetskiied in with the votes rather than walking through a gauntlet of audience high-fives. He thanks everyone for participating in an experimental season and we get a glimpse of the three finalists. Gaving, scrubbed clean and filled out, looks like an Eagle Scout working on his project. Chris, smiling and handsome, and Julie with a cute long bob haircut, all hold hands and await the verdict. Probst reads the votes:

Gavin. Chris. Gavin. Chris. Gavin. Chris. Gavin. Chris. Chris. Chris. Chris. That’s enough. The winner of Survivor 38 is Chris, who played a total of eleven days of Survivor. Bah.

Those who voted for Gavin: Kelley, Lauren, Aurora, Dadbod Rick (tastes like bitter!).

Those who voted for Chris: Everyone else. Can I name them without looking at my notes? Joe. Aubry. Warthog. Freckles (really? Not for Gavin?). Ron. Helloooo Eric. David. Julia. Reem Daly.

Votes for Julie: Her family, and me for her fabulous post-season hair.

Lots of applause and now we have half an hour for the “reunion special.” As usual, the producers should have an extra hour of the regular show and have an hour and a half finale with an hour and a half reunion. Let’s see if anything interesting happens for this reunion, and by interesting I mean if someone punches Reem Daly in the smug parts.

Turns out David is now a writer on the new Star Trek Discovery, along with Cochran. Also he moved in with his girlfriend, who looks to be barely into her twenties.

Kelley was glad to show her emotional side of herself and exhorted teenage girls out there to be themselves, however they are, or something like that. I was distracted by her very Targaryen hair color.

The $100,000 Sia Survivor Award goes to…Dadbod Rick Devens, who is actually surprised and shocked at the amount, or else he is a REALLY good actor.

Chicken Wendy is wearing a tiny Rubik’s Cube necklace. I approve.

Reem Daly thinks her family is proud of her. She…thinks? Have they not had a conversation in the entire time she has been back? Or do they run and hide when they see her coming? I have questions, but Probst ignores them to encourage her to say, “Dude.”

Julia has the best perspective when she says there may only be one Sole Survivor but there can be multiple winners based on their experiences on the island. That was well said but does me no good.

Probst wishes there was more time for stories from the Survivors. If only he were in a position to do something about it.

So there we are, Survivor 38 in the books. Thanks for hanging in with me all season, through jokes, inconsistencies in how I felt about any one particular player, other than the permanent distaste for Reem Daly. Edge of Extinction had some great characters, one hugely unlikeable person, and the winner was a decent fellow who had a HUGE leg up from the season’s big twist. NO matter what, Survivor is still my favorite show and I will be back for the new season, Island of the Idols. Hope you come back as well.

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Best thing about that finale is the knowledge that I won’t have to see Reem Daly on my screen for the foreseeable future.  

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