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Survivor 40 - Episode 14 - Three Hours and All I Got Was This Lousy Zoom Meeting?

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Winners at war…..they’re coming for yoooooou!

Yeah, that terrible song pretty much sums up this season. Winners. Warring. Coming for my time and wasting it with too much recappage of the entire season. Also, Jurassic Island sucks and should never come back, ever. You want war, Survivor? Keep up with that stupid game twist!

MrsGryn at warrrrrrrr….She’s coming for Prooooooobst!

We open with Probst, wearing a Behr Paint Black Elegance shirt, for those keeping score at home, on a tiny Tribal Council set, sounding like a tinny recording from 1924. He explains that CBS shipped him the do-it-yourself set in pieces with instructions on how to put it together. Apparently he also needed his sixteen year old to help him, like many of us with technology more complicated than a Sony Walkman. And seriously, how is it that CBS could not spring for a decent microphone? I mean, someone obviously was able to give Jeff a botox touch up, so slipping in some sound equipment should not have been too difficult. Also we know it is Jeff’s garage because there are artfully place bicycles around the mini-set. In my garage, there would have been boxes of Christmas decorations, plastic tubs labeled “winter clothes” but containing any manner of things, and oil stains on the concrete slab. Probst in his introduction claims this is the greatest season they have ever done and yeah, no. Not even close. As we know, there is no live reunion as we have come to know it, only a Zoom meeting of all twenty players. And since by the end, we only see the three final Survivors, let me pause on the twenty squares so I can describe the backgrounds of each player too you. They are arranged alphabetically, starting with Adam, who has been surviving in his grandmother’s house, judging from the doily on the back of the couch. Amber – and also Rob – are perched in front of a mural of Boston Red Sox players, presumably from the non-cheating World Series championship team. Yosemite Ben is in front of a stone wall/fireplace. Danni seems to be in her bathroom shower with stacked stone façade behind her. At least the caption says Danni but it doesn’t look anything like her so she may have swapped in Octomom. Denise and the marmoset perched on her head are in front of some gorgeous wooden doors that I am totally not jealous of at ALL. Ethan has been quarantining in a bank vault as he is sitting in front of a bunch of safety deposit boxes. Jeremy has a tastefully arranged painting and knickknacks behind him and I am sorely disappointed there isn’t a single firetruck to be seen. Kim has a home meant for giants as everything is very tall, including the ceiling, barstools, and paintings on the walls. Michelle has a nondescript couch in her background and black hair now. Natalie has a blank wall behind her. Nick is in witness protection, though it’s hard to tell due to the shine reflecting off his forehead. Parvati’s wall sports one quarter of a large painting or photograph and it looks pretty boring. Sandra and Sarah both have blank walls behind them, but at least Sandra’s shows off her crown. Sophie is the only one sitting outside. Tony has a surprisingly tasteful home, but all credit goes to his very pleasant wife. Tyson has pink wall paint and a mid-century etagere that I covet, plus a decent haircut that I also covet these days. Wendell is wearing a suit jacket for his formal trip to his living room. Finally, Yul is in front of a stark white fireplace with one lonely jade plant behind his right shoulder.

After a mercifully brief recap from Probst, we jump right into the episode. Challenge beach, Day 35. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Day Flower shirt, for those keeping score at home. Is this where we finally find out who is coming back into the game, after we wasted fifteen minutes of the last show with filler on the Dinosaurs? Let’s find out. The current players dutifully troop in, with Tony remarking there is a lot of rope and a puzzle at the end. Probst explains they are not competing today and the Edge of Extinction players enter the Thunderdome, ready to compete. Boston Rob looks like he is ready to cut a bitch, and by bitch I mean Adam, of course. Probst goes over the challenge: Players will have to clip themselves to a rope maze and untangle themselves on a fence obstacle and then a post obstacle. They will then dig in the sand for a single rope run and use it with others to build a rope bridge, crossing over it and race to the end and use two BALLS on a board maze to get the BALLS in their respective holes. He also brings up the advantages: Parvati, Wendell, Natalie, and Yul skip the fence obstacle and start at the post. He then goes on to reveal that Natalie also has the second and third advantages: she skips digging and a third of her rope bridge is already built. The current Survivors are pretty impressed with all of her advantages. Let’s see if it pays off, shall we? Survivors ready? GO! And right from the outset, Natalie completely boggles the pole obstacle, getting herself even more tangled up, tripping and falling over, and being confused as to how the ropes are entwined. It is almost embarrassing and Probst calls her out on it. Through most of the challenge it is Wendell who is in the lead and in fact he is on the puzzle maze board before anyone else has finished building their rope bridge. What saves Natalie is her bazillion advantages and skipping the sand dig, plus the bridge building was partially done. This does not mean that Wendell would have been the sure winner, despite being so far ahead, as others caught up to him including Tyson and Yul. In the end, though, Natalie is able to pass Wendell and get the second BALL in the hole, thus getting back in the game. The current players clap for her without any real enthusiasm and when she reaches the Queen Sandra Sit-out Bench, Tony compliments her performance and she snaps back at him, “Thanks for voting me out.” HA! Nice one.

After the challenge, Probst takes the time to talk to all the now-jury members and ask them about their experiences. It is very tearful and heartfelt in most cases and yes, Ethan does bring up that he had cancer. But what he says is that Survivor has partnered with Stand Up to Cancer and that very charity funded the research that saved his life from his most recent bout with leukemia. A fine example of going full circle.

Koru Beach, post challenge. Natalie checks out the new beach, same as the old beach. Well, it was the same one she was on for two days before being the first bootee. She takes no prisoners with Tony and corrects him when he says “Welcome” to “Welcome back, you mean.” In other news, the mirror that they have is actually a metal tray, presumably from a feast. Still no word as to whether Nick ever saw himself in it. The six finalists sit around to try and get information out of Natalie, who happily tells them that the Dinosaurs are all on the Tony Train, or #BATSHITCRAZYBOSS as we like to call him. She says the impression is that Tony is giving all the instructions and everyone else is just following the directions. Tony is aghast at this while the rest of them are in various stages of disbelief that anyone would believe Tony is the popular kid. It works a little on Sarah and she starts feeling some doubts, not necessarily in Tony as her alliance partner but in how people are perceiving her since she is adamant that Tony would not still be there if it wasn’t for her. She is not wrong here, but she is quite clear that she is upset that Tony is getting credit for her moves, presumably because she is a woman. Nice play by Natalie to get some dissention rolling. Tony asks Sarah if he thinks Natalie has an idol or another advantage and Sarah completely dismisses his concerns. Now, does she do that because Natalie is a woman and therefore could not possibly have an idol or another advantage? See, I can play that game, too, Sarah.

Immunity Challenge time. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Bering Wave shirt, for those keeping score at home. This is a big, complicated one and upon seeing the set-up, Denise says it looks like fun. She is not wrong. Probst explains the challenge: the Survivors will have to cross over obstacle bridges, three different ones (ropes, planks, discs), in order to retrieve three bags of puzzle pieces. After getting a bag, they will have to run up a huge flight of stairs and then slide down an enormous waterslide, which looks like a thrillride in and of itself, especially in the hot tropical sunshine. The sky is gorgeous and as blue as one of Jeff’s shirts. Anyway, once all puzzle piece bags are collected, the Survivors will have to assemble the puzzle, which is one of those where there are columnar pieces of different lengths that have to be assembled vertically with a level top in three tiers. First one finished wins immunity. Survivors ready? GO!

Message from Tsy: “Is OTEV here for this?”

Right out of the gate, Yosemite Ben is in the lead and Michele is lagging far, far behind. In fact at one point Natalie actually laps Michele, which Probst LOVES. The best part is watching the slides. Yosemite Ben’s slides are pretty willy-nilly and on his second one, he actually leaps over the top and barely connects with the slide as he caroms downward, spinning around on his back at the end of it. Tony is a bit loosey-goosey and Denise’s slide form is tight and controlled. Something tells me she has been on that big one at the Atlantis Resort is the Bahamas before this challenge. Michelle, whose only regular form of physical activity seems to be the nanny-nanny-boo-boo dance, is in the weeds enough that Probst ignores her and ascends the platform to call the action on the rest of the tribe as they attempt to assemble the puzzle. There is not a lot of progress going on there. Meanwhile, Michele finally gets the last bag of puzzle pieces and makes her way up to the top of the platform. There is really no other way to describe it as sauntering. She very coolly opens the first bag and gets out the pieces then bing bang boom, the first tier is done. The other Survivors are stunned and try to see how she has assembled the pieces. Michele ignores them other than a good-natured, “Cheaters!” taunt and goes on the knock out the second tier in no time flat. Shortly thereafter, the third tier is done and just like that, Michele wins a very necessary immunity necklace. She just killed it and I have to say, Probst was very non-effusive about her achievement, at least what we saw. Considering the speech Sarah makes at Tribal Council later, this moment is a good example of Jeff’s own problems with calling wins for the female Survivors. If a male player had come from behind like that, Probst’s enthusiasm would have known no bounds. Instead he was cheerful about her win but not effusive in his praise. So there we have it.

Post challenge on Koru Beach, Day 36. What is significant here is that Tony is paranoid about Natalie having an idol. He agitates his alliance members, Yosemite Ben and Sarah, about the possibility and that they need to make plans. Natalie continues her campaign of telling the camp they are a bunch of idiots by saying she is just going to go with the flow which is apparently everybody tells everybody everything all the time and no one wants to scramble or talk to her about any sort of alliance. Other than Michele, the rest of them just stare at her, dumbfounded. Ha! You people should have seen her with her Twinnie in action on TAR! Michele finally says that sure, she’ll talk with Natalie and they wander down the path away from camp. And when Michele finds out that Natalie has an idol, she jumps around with joy. They discuss the need to get Tony out or at the very least get him to play his idol. What they don’t know is that Ben also has an idol. Tony really wants to put votes on Denise, but neither Yosemite Ben or Sarah want to do that and they constantly shut him down. Sarah is adamant that Natalie doesn’t have one. She explains that in the one day Natalie has been on their beach, Sarah has built enough of a bond that Natalie would have told her if she had an idol. First of all, wow. Second of all, WOW. Have you ever heard of hubris, Sarah? Because you are exuding it like the stink exuding from your armpits right about now. Sarah is dismissive of Tony, who for once is exactly right. However, the dismissiveness cracks me up because that kind of contemptuous attitude directed toward her by, say, Yosemite Ben would have had Sarah up in arms about the sexism being directed at her. So are you a sexist, Sarah, or is it just human disdain? We will let the audience decide.

Tribal Council, Night 36. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Fern Canopy shirt, for those keeping score at home. The jury, all 47 members, make their way in with varying degrees of recognizability, from Adam (still and always a weasel) to Danni (channeling Janice Dickinson). The discussion immediately goes off on a tangent as Sarah gives a very good speech about gender bias in Survivor, highlighting how women who lie, cheat, and steal in the game are perceived as bitches while the men who do the same are heroes. Probst owns up to his own gender related favoritism by bringing up something we have known for years: referring to the Alpha males by their last name. Everyone promises to do better and we move back from the More You Know portion of the evening. Relevant to the game, Natalie again puts it out there: you people are playing with blinders on if you don’t get rid of Tony, because then he is getting the win at the end. And even Probst is impressed with how Natalie hammers that point home. With that, it’s time to vote.

Probst goes to tally the votes. But first, does anyone want to play an immunity idol? Of course they do! Natalie stands up and Sarah’s eyes pop out of her head in shock. Tony tried to tell you, but nooooooo, you just didn’t listen. Natalie plays her idol and so no votes cast for her will count. Tony keeps muttering that he told them, he knew it. He told them! Tony then stands up to play his idol and Natalie smiles to herself. Unfortunately, then Ben stands up and plays his secret idol. Natalie loses her smile and mouths, “Damn.” So it is obviously she and Michele voted for Ben. On rewatch, I think it would have been a bit smarter if she and Michele had split their own vote and put one on either Sarah or Denise. As it is, the votes are counted.

Natalie. Does not count.

Natalie. Does not count.

Natalie. Does not count.

Natalie. Does not count.

Ben. Does not count.

Ben. Does not count.

Probst then explains that since no votes counted, there will have to be a revote. The one persons who can be voted for are Denise and Sarah and since those two would cancel each other out, they will not vote. If there is another tie, then there will be a fire making challenge. There is a quick whispered conversation between Natalie and Michele and the Survivors go to revote. All votes go to Denise and the Queenslayer is now out of the game. Bummer! Denise was the one I was rooting for to win the whole shebang, but I hardly ever get what I want in this game, do I? I am like the Reem Daly of recappers. Denise takes her ouster in good humor, naturally, and Yosemite Ben is particularly broken up about her leaving.

Post-tribal on Night 36. Tony continues his harangue of Yosemite Ben and Sarah for not listening to him. He decides he is going out at night to search for the now-returned hidden immunity idol. He cleverly puts some coals in a shell and goes out into the jungle to start a fire and search for an idol by the light of a small campfire. He sticks his hands into different crevices and tree boles, uses some long palm fronds to light the ends and use them as a torchlight, with little bits of burning material falling off onto the jungle floor. I am surprised Tony did not manage to burn down the entire island with his nighttime shenanigans. And then the sun comes up and everyone else goes out looking for the idol as well, falling all over each other in their respective hunts. Here’s a question: would the idol have been hidden again so quickly after Tribal council or would it have been done the next morning? I can imagine there was a walkie-talkie conversation between a producer and an intern stationed near camp with a copy of the idols, ready for the word to hide the new one at the drop of a hat. In what looks like morning light, Natalie manages to find the idol and she runs off with Michele to open it and quietly celebrate the discovery. Ben and Tony lament their inability to find it and Yosemite Ben states that if the two, you know, MEN couldn’t find it then it either isn’t out there or one of the girls has it. Yeah, okay, whatever you say, big guy.

Immunity Challenge time. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Beacon Blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. Today the Survivors will, as Probst loves saying, race through a series of obstacles to untie a buoy with a key. The key unlocks a chest with two sandbags, which the Survivors must use to land on a small disc platform. Once both sandbags are on the disc, that Survivor wins immunity. Survivors ready? GO! This is a physical challenge, along with some hand-eye coordination, so Michele is never going to win it. Let’s not even mention her. Natalie is first up until the netcrawl on the beach, which Yosemite Ben manages to get slightly ahead of her. Ben manages to land one bag followed by Tony a little later. Every is tossing bags but it is really between the two men and Tony comes out the winner.

Koru Beach, post challenge. Natalie is focused on breaking up the triumvirate of Sarah-Ben-Tony, thinking that Sarah would be the most likely person to flip and vote out Ben. Maybe, maybe not. Tony pulls Sarah aside and points out that neither Michele nor Natalie are out looking for an idol, feeding his suspicion that one of them has the idol. Honestly, how hard would it have been for those girls to go off into the jungle and pretend they are looking for idols in order to mislead the rest of them? It seems like a basic Survivor tenet: confuse the opposition. Tony hatches one of his #BATSHITCRAZYBOSS plans to hide out in his Spy Nest and have Sarah draw Natalie out there and suss out her plan. And what do you know, it works! But it works because Natalie has hidden the idol in her buff wrapped around her wrist and Sarah spies it like Twinnie was a tweaker trying to talk their way out of a ticket. Tony decides they should put their votes on Michele because Natalie will play the idol for herself. For her part, Michele knows the votes will be coming for her and the two girls talk. Sarah and Yosemite see them and Sarah says, “Those girls are scheming.” Okay….and? What is your point? Should they just be rolling over to accept their fate like well-behaved young ladies? Are you, Sarah, the only woman who is allowed to play Survivor “like a man” would? It is a little hypocritical of her to complain out of one side of her mouth how she is perceived in the game and how she speaks about other women playing in the game out of the other side. Pick a lane, Sarah.

Yosemite Ben, meanwhile, has a chat with Sarah about voting him out. He volunteers himself for the chopping block, noting that her speck at tribal the night before was so good that if she votes him out she can use it for the final argument to prove she was not dragged along by Tony. Ben gets very emotional and tells us that he feels that he now has friends, which is worth more to him than anything else in the game. The two of them are torn up at the likelihood of Sarah voting him out for her own game play. There are a lot of tears and declarations of love and respect. The thing is, I can see why Ben would feel having friends is worth more to him than the grand prize. He is hardly the warm and fuzzy type who makes friends easily, who keeps friends easily, and who trusts people easily. On the other hand, two million dollars can buy you a lot of companionship. And a yacht.

Tribal Council, Night 37. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Explorer Blue shirt, for those keeping score at home. Probst starts with a speech about Survivor serving as a “well-intentioned but relentless adversary” that pushes the Survivors to deal with stuff out there. So, Survivor is like therapy? Way to overinflate yourself and your primary purpose, Jeff, which is to entertain me. If people grow and learn during their experiences, well that is just fine and dandy but I do not give a rats ass because I don’t personally know these people or anything about how they actually live and deal with their lives and families. I have my favorites – we all do – and the ones I dislike during the game. And these choices also shift throughout a season. I started off not even remembering some of them, like Sophie and Michele, only to end up at the very least admiring them or downright rooting for them to get to the end. Others I never change my mind about, like Adam or any random Hantz you would care to name. And the thing is, no matter how much I might grouse about there here, complain about their gameplay or their attitude or their nosehairs, once they are out of the game, they are back to being a full human being with all respect and kindness due to them in the real world. When I hear about the Twitter mob and SJWs going after Denise because she held her hand up in Jeremy’s face, calling her a racist and spewing all kinds of garbage at her enough to drive her and a number of other Survivors off of social media entirely that is when the line is crossed. That sort of behavior out in the real world, searching the Survivors out in order to specifically target them for harassment for a TV gameshow is weak, childish, and should be stopped. Except for anyone named Hantz. Okay, rant over. Back to the show. Sarah votes tonight in order to advance her game. Michele hopes she survives. The usual. Time to vote.

Probst goes to tally the votes. He invites anyone who has a hidden immunity idol to play it. Natalie turns to Michele and whispers she has a bad feeling. Probst then nods his head to read the votes and Natalie jumps up, telling him to wait! She gives him her idol that everyone else knows about. Probst reads the votes.






Tony is very surprised by this, as is the jury. As Ben gets his torch, he turns to the jury as says, I hope you guys are ready to party! He gives Probst a hug before he leaves, and this is definitely a different Ben than we have seen before. He seems calmer, more centered and in a much better place that his first go ‘round.

I love this show but I HAAAAATE that this finale is three hours long and feels like a bit of a grind. What idiot thought this was a good idea rather than having at least one more episode next week?

Day 38 .Immunity challenge time. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Havana Coffee shirt, for those keeping score at home. Coffee sounds like a really good idea right now. The challenge is a repeat of a classic: the Mousetrap. Starting with one BALL, the Survivors will have to drop a ball into the chute as the BALL makes its way down the loops to the bottom where it will shoot out one of two exits. The players will have to catch the ball before it drops and feed it into the chute again. More balls will be added at regular intervals. Oh, and one hand will be tied behind their back. Survivors ready? GO! As the Survivors concentrate, Probst launches into some Survivor history: out of the three times they have done this challenge, the person who won the challenge won the game. Also Michele is the only one of the four of them who did win the final challenge in their season. There are no issues while the Survivors have two BALLS in their mousetrap, but it is when the third BALL is added that Tony has some trouble. I assume he has only handled two BALLS at a time. Four BALLS are dropped and Sarah loses concentration for a moment, and she is out. It is down to Natalie and Michele. Now it is time for five BALLS in the mousetrap. Michele looks very steady as she concentrates while Natalie has a couple of near misses, but she is fast, snatching at least two BALLS out of the air. Finally Michele loses her rhythm and drops, leaving Natalie the winner of the final Survivor challenge. Now it is up to her to figure out who comes with her in the end and who has to make fire. I think we are all agreed that she really has to get rid of Tony at this point.

Post challenge, Koru Beach, Day 38. Everyone not named Natalie practices making fire. You know who is surprisingly incompetent at this task? Tony AND Sarah. You know who is surprisingly competent? Michele. And thus, I finally decided to come around and root for Michele to win this. At the beginning of the season there is no way…NO WAY I could have predicted it would come down to this. With some many other favorites in the game, this was impossible to foresee. Michele has some problematic stuff I haven’t liked, such as the seeming obsession with Wendell and I have certainly had a lot of fun at her expense on that part of it, but she has won a couple of clutch immunities, she has had advantages whether given or earned or purchased. She has had to play scrappy without the physical strength of many of the Survivors and she has not been mean or cruel to anyone in her gameplay. Sometimes it is a matter of making peace with how people get to the end. And sometimes it gets down to fire.

Tribal Council. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Rainy Afternoon shirt, for those keeping score at home. The jury comes in and is missing a member: Sophie. Probst says she is feeling under the weather and the rest of the jury will fill her in on what happens with as little bias as possible. Surrrrrrrrrrrrrre they will, Jeff. Yosemite Ben has clipped his beard into a forked marvel. He looks less like a miner and more like a Viking. Ben Ragnarsson is born. Michele says she practiced making fire as soon as she got back to camp. Sarah informs Probst that if she is making fire, she is certain it will be against Tony. She starts crying about how much she loves her partner Tony, and uses the analogy that if they are going to shoot each other, she would rather it be that way and then Tony displays a skill that I have underappreciated in him during his previous seasons. He makes a dumb joke to lighten an otherwise heavy situation by saying, “What, you wanna shoot me now?” It makes Sarah laugh, it breaks the tension, it changes the pressure of the situation. In this moment, I can see how Tony is probably a pretty good cop. He is relatable when he wears his lack of intellectual acumen on his sleeve and that can make people a lot more comfortable. It is not like Tony will ever be Yul or Ethan in terms of intelligence, but in this our #BATSHITCRAZBOSS is King. Back to the game, Natalie expresses her thought process that she is not totally confident that she can beat Tony at the end. She picks Michele to go with her to the end, so the fire battle is between Tony and Sarah, as advertised. Michele looks nonplussed. I think this was a mistake on Natalie’s part. She should have either taken the chance to beat Tony and get the biggest threat out, like Chris did with Devens (which I’m still mad about), or she should have taken Sarah and let Michele take him out. If Tony survived and he and Sarah were both at the end, there would have been a lot of arguments about who did what and who will the jury believe as to which of them was leading that alliance, leaving an opening for the default votes to fall to Natalie. But this is the decision she made, so let’s see what happens.

FIRE! It is the usual set up. Two barrels with the same supplies: coconut husk, magnesium and a small knife, sticks, a string to burn and a flag to raise. The task begins and Probst narrates the action like a golf match. There is no way to make this sound at all interesting. They both get flames going and Sarah’s flame starts burning high, reaching the rope but that is because she used all her coconut husk and it falls back down. Tony builds a large structure and while they both are burning the rope, it is Tony who manages to raise his flag first and thus he is in the finale three. The two have a tender goodbye before Sarah’s flame is snuffed. Oh, just stop talking and go already! I am so over all this weepy lovefest shit that has been going on this entire season.

Koru Beach, Day 39. Breakfast time. We get the traditional talking heads where each finalist discusses their path to the final. Natalie recognizes her “non-traditional” route, Michele feels the sting of her previous win has finally gone away, and Tony is pretty confident on how he has played his game. Also that bacon looked pretty tasty.

Final Tribal Council. Probst is wearing a Behr Paint Thai Basil shirt, for those keeping score at home. The Gods are displeased with this final three and have opened up the heavens to pour rain down on them. Remind me again why the Tribal Council area is not covered, at least the jury box. Sophie is there but she looks like death warmed over and barely raises her head the entire time they are out there. Yul starts off with a complimentary opening statement. Boring. Denise asks what their missteps in the game were. Natalie says getting voted out first. Duh. Michele says her one on one alliances were good but she never got in a bigger alliance. Oh, and Wendell was at fault or something. Tony doesn’t think he had any missed opportunities. Nick is a Bitter Betty toward Tony blindsiding him. Same with Jeremy. Adam compliments Natalie at how well she crushed Jurassic Island. Boston Rob asks why Natalie separated herself from everyone on Jurassic Island. She gives some reasons but also owns up to being a strong personality and knows that she is not everyone’s cup of tea. Parvati asks how Tony managed to blindside so many people and not have everyone mad at him. He launches into a hilarious explanation of his Spy Nest over the water well and has the entire jury laughing at his antics. See? A rare ability to make people laugh in otherwise serious situations. Wendell asks Michele to explain her outwit part of the game. She comes back with her adaptability in the game with all of the challenges she faced. Ben Ragnarsson complements her ability to play the game and says he can see how she won her original game. Probst directs the jury to start asking the Outplay parts of the game. Wendell wants Natalie to explain and she owns up that the social part is weak for her but this is her strength. She goes through the list of all the stuff she found or won on Jurassic Island and it really is an impressive list of accomplishments. There is talk of winning challenges. Tony was surprised he won four, Michelle mentions the shifting landscape of the game day by day and how immunity was so important. Boston Rob then asks Natalie why she didn’t go against Tony in the fire challenge. She says she wanted to pit the alliance against each other. Tony tells the story about his extortion and gets the entire jury laughing once again. Michele mentions that all of the good things in her game came from the edge, like advantages. Probst moves it to Outlast and invites a final commentary by the Survivors. Natalie focuses on working with the hand she was dealt, Michele mentions surviving fifteen of nineteen tribal councils, Tony talks about playing as himself rather than going full throttle with strategy and idol-hunting. After they are done speaking, random jury members talk about how much each of the three deserve to be up there and in the final three. There is a standing ovation and then Probst calls for the vote.

Time to vote. We see several of the jury members voting, many of them pausing to think before writing their choice. Rob votes for Tony after telling Natalie she should have taken him out in order to play a perfect game. Parvati votes for Natalie, complimenting all she has accomplished. Nick speaks about how hard it is to be on the outs the whole time, but we do not see his vote. Ben Ragnarsson votes for Tony with a “Right on brother.” Probst collects the urn and tells them he will see them back in Los Angeles for the reading of the votes (NO YOU WON’T!) and walks off with the urn. Michele laughs that this was the longest season ever. No, it wasn’t, but this finale sure was. Seriously, three house. You suck, CBS.

Finally we are back in Probst’s garage. He shows us the final three via Zoom windows and invites their loved ones to join them. Natalie’s boyfriend, who may be the lead singer in Shinedown, joins her. Michele’s sister, whom we met earlier in the season, does not practice social distancing on Michele’s couch. Tony’s adorable kids and wife join him. Finally, Probst reads the votes.

Tony. (Rob)

Natalie. (Ethan)

Natalie. (Parvati)

Tony. (Danni)

Nat. (Jeremy)

Tony. (Yul)

Natalie. (Tyson)

Tony. (Wendell, who added “Mr. Spy Nest” and “The GOAT” which, no. That is still Sandra)

Tony. (Adam)

Tony. (Sophie, barely upright in the voting booth)

Tony. (Kim)

Tony. (Nick. Boo! Should have been a Michele vote)

Tony. (Denise)

That’s enough. Tony is the winner of the $2,000,000.00 prize for Season 40. Winners at War. Does this mean we have to now refer to him as #BATSHITCRAZYBOSSKING?

Unseen votes for Tony: Ben, Sarah, Amber.

For the end, Probst asks Tony what winning this means, and his response is that this means he will be able to make sure his family is secure, which means even more in this time we are experiencing now. Probst apologizes for being a rude host and cutting everyone off and I would like to point out that it didn’t have to happen like this, Jeff!

Well, that is it for Survivor 40. For a war, there wasn’t nearly enough blood, just a scraped elbow from Boston Rob and Ethan getting the vapors. The season had its ups and downs, but it is not high on my list of favorites. The Edge of Extinction is a terrible twist leading to a bloated jury and turning the final three into a joke. Fire tokens lead to some interesting twists but all the idols and advantages also muddle the game a bit rather than keeping it purely on physical or emotional skills of the players. Probst promises us Survivor 41 in the fall but I am slightly cynical this will happen, at least as the world stands today. And when he encourages people to apply, specifically mentioning sixteen and seventeen year olds applying, I am well and truly appalled at the idea. So we have that shitstorm to look forward to in the autumn.

Thanks for sticking with me, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting. Stick around through the summer since there is no Big Brother in the foreseeable future and let’s just hang out, though at a responsible distance, of course. Get yourself a Fisty mask to keep people far away and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. You mean the world to me, and I’m not just saying that so you will vote for me at the end.

Peace and love and wash your hands.

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Thank you for this and all the other Survivor recaps, @MrsGryn!

Each and every week this season, I scurried over to HT as soon as I saw the notification pop up on Facebook that a recap had dropped. They were always better than the show, usually pointed out tidbits that I missed while watching, and... I really cannot wait to see how you deal with the teenagers.


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1 hour ago, Magpie said:

I really cannot wait to see how you deal with the teenagers.

There is no mercy in this dojo.

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I bet it took forever to get shots of them all.... for the 13 seconds they were on their Zoom meeting. 

And just imagine having teens play... I'm already having visions of it being a parent/teen season. That will be all sorts of fun. 

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I'm getting a serious Lord of the Flies vibe from thoughts of Teen Survivor.  

Great season of recaps, Gryn.  However, I am disappointed that, after seeing the bag the BALLS were in, you didn't mention their resemblance to BALL sacks.  

I'll be around all summer.  I have no [strikethrough]place[/strikethrough] life to go back to.

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