Ladies Night. No pre-credit sequence this week. Instead, we get the obligatory clip package that tries to make the case that Christina in some way deserved a place in the Final Five and that she’s an “underdog,” not a “darned-lucky coaster.” Anyway, it’s Night 36 at Tikiano. Muscular Mark Twain is gone. Only women remain. Kim wants to reflect on how far they’ve come since those rough first days. “I got rid of Tarzan,” Alicia cackles, still convinced this is all about her, thinking that Kim and Christina will stick with her. They’re all “May the best Woman win.” The next morning, Kim and Sabrina collect tree-mail. Sabrina wants Alicia out, but Kim makes the argument that the only person who can beat both of them with the Jury is Chelsea. “It depends on what we’re honoring,” Noble Sabrina says, stunned at Kim’s hypothetical betrayal. Sabrina understands that if Chelsea wins Immunity, she’s the next most-likable person and therefore the next most-likely to go next. Alicia also is rooting for Chelsea to suck.
Full recap of Sunday’s (May 13) “Survivor: One World” after the break…
Mission KimPossible. We’re going straight to the Immunity Challenge. Once again, Immunity is up for grabs on a challenge that starts with a knotted gate, continues with a balance beam maze, leading to a package of puzzle pieces. The puzzle will give clues to a combination unlocking a flag. Christina and Kim get to the maze first with Chelsea lagging. The leaders stumble on the maze, though, and Chelsea is the first to collect the puzzle pieces. Kim finishes her puzzle first. But will she also solve the riddle? Not at first. Alicia also tries and fails. “This challenge is back on again,” Probst says. Kim recounts and… wins! Chelsea needed that one. Does she know she needed that one? Interesting.
Caught between Alicia’s boulders and a hard choice. The women return. The waves crash. Crabs scurry. Sabrina is warm. Kim’s head is about to explode with options, knowing she has to run numbers to make sure she’ll have potential Jury votes. She steps out to crab with Chelsea, who proposes taking Alicia out and going to the Final 3 with Sabrina. Chelsea tries to explain to Kim that Kim has played the game better than anybody else and that she expects her to win. Chelsea feels completely at ease going into Tribal Council, especially since she’s expecting that Kim will use the Hidden Idol for her if necessary. Kim isn’t nearly so sure that’s the way of things. Alicia, tanning her bosom, trusts Kim and assumes Kim will know better than to go to the end with tough players like Sabrina and Chelsea. Christina assumes Kim is with them, because Christina has no thoughts of her own and believes what she’s told. Kim says she could still go either way.
Tribal Council I. Tarzan has shaved and is at his most Muscular Mark Twain-y. Kat looks good, but dispassionately irritated. Sure she’s got her ducks in a row, Alicia is relaxed and didn’t notice scrambling. Chelsea agrees that scrambling was minimal. “It’s gotten to the point where it’s either this or that,” Chelsea says. Kim says that it’s hard at this point, because she really likes the women she’s with, adding that every Tribal Council has a different criteria. Kim mentions the word “loyalty,” which gets an eye-roll from Kat. “To me, it all comes down to perception and self-perception,” Kim says. Another Kat eye-roll. Kim says that her heart keeps getting in the way. Oh, Kim. Don’t blow this. Stop talking. Alicia’s confident in Kim’s loyalty, which confuses Troyzan on the Jury. Sabrina’s good. Christina has been loyal. Chelsea tells Kim that what she does tonight will gain or lose respect with the Jury.
The Vote I. Chelsea loves Alicia like a sister, but writes her name down. Alicia writes Chelsea’s name, but assure her that she’ll be just fine. No Idol is played. Probst tallies: Chelsea. Alicia. [“It’s gonna be Chelsea,” Kat-Kreskin predicts.] Chelsea. Alicia. ALICIA. “Wow,” Alicia says. “She backstabbed me and Alicia,” Kat whispers. Alicia vows not to be a sore loser and promises to be proud of Kim.
Christina is a player on this season of “Survivor.” No. Really. Kim apologizes to Christina for lying to her. Christina says it’s OK, because what else would she say? Christina isn’t even engaged enough in this game to get angry. Christina also insists that she’s aware that it’s a game and she understands, vowing not to pull a Troy. “I swear, if she wins tomorrow, I’m gonna cry,” Kim tells Chelsea, who agrees and tells the camera that she owes it all to Kim. Chelsea also realizes that if they take Christina to the end, it would be funny to watch her defend her performance to the Jury. It seems that Christina has has only been going at a mediocre pace and now she’s going to go full-throttle. Good timing there, Christina. Tree-mail says that it’s time for…
Rites of Passage. Remember Kourney? With her Orca hat and her broken whatever? Remember Nina? With her… um… being older? Remember Matt? With his… weird insistence that he played a great game, better than anybody still out there? Yeah, I don’t remember that Matt. Remember Bill? Too-ghetto-for-Colton, Bill? Remember Monica? She was pretty strong, so I guess that’s why Colton betrayed his Momica? Remember Colton? Kim acknowledges that the game would have gone differently if he stuck around. Remember Jonas? He only wanted to talk “Survivor” Molecular Gastronomy with me in his exit interview. Remember Mike? Moron. Remember Jay? “Just as beautiful on the outside as on the inside,” Chelsea says. Remember Leif? Dude slept in a BOX! Remember Troyzan? Jeff Probst is gonna want to get him back for future seasons for sure. Remember Kat? So cute. So naive. So loopy. Remember Muscular Mark Twain? That was just last week, of course you do. And Alicia? Shoot. That was 15 minutes ago.
Once again, Immunity is up for grabs. For the last time. Immunity is a genuinely strange Mousetrap/Rube Goldberg contraption asking players to stack 10 bowls on a precarious spring-loaded platform. I like more epic Final Immunity Challenges, but I wouldn’t argue that this task is easy, per se. It’s not a great TV challenge, though. It takes forever. Seriously. TIME-LAPSE, y’all! Whew. Time-lapse, with Christina and Kim in a dead heat. Chelsea is close. Sabrina isn’t close and Probst is mocking her. Kim is within one bowl. Christina is within one bowl. Kim goes to place her 10th bowl. Can she? She does! Kim win Immunity again, for the fourth time. And seriously, if the Jury doesn’t just hand her the million at Tribal Council, that’s craziness. “You’re a beast,” Chelsea tells her. She is a beast. Kim has dominated this game strategically Post-Colton and she’s dominated physically, Post-Merge. Only bitterness is going to prevent a shut-out no matter who she takes with her.
Christina, still a player in the game of “Survivor,” surrenders. Kim’s pleased with herself. Chelsea wants to be told up-front if she’s going next. Kim tells her that it is. “It is what it is,” Christina says. She barely seems to care. Go away, Christina. “Might as well make it as enjoyable and peaceful as possible,” Christina says. Sigh. “She literally didn’t fight for it,” Kim muses, viewing this as being both a positive and a negative, since she knows that if she takes Christina, she won’t get any votes, while Sabrina would probably get a few. I’m not sure why Sabrina would get any votes, but whatever.
Tribal Council II. Alicia flattened her hair, yo. Kim reflects on a quiet afternoon back at camp and Sabrina agrees that nobody saw the need to scramble. Probst is confused by the lack of drama. “Jeff, it’s me,” Christina shrugs. “What’s not clear to me is why that means it made for a quiet afternoon,” says the incredulous Probst. Christina says that Sabrina didn’t try all that hard either. Sabrina doesn’t think Christina made an effort and that perception didn’t equal reality. Kat is amazed by how well-spoken Sabrina is and Troyzan agrees. Ugh. Probst tries to explain the nature of “Survivor” to Christina, but she can’t make sense of anything. It’s possible that Christina is one of the most pathetic players to ever advance this far on “Survivor.” Kim, though, says that things aren’t always as they seem. The music seems to think this is interesting.
The Vote II. Christina writes Sabrina’s name. Sabrina writes Christina’s name. Probst tallies the votes: Sabrina. Christina. Christina. Christina. Christina shows very little emotion and she leaves. Nobody on the jury seems to care either. “I’m honored to make it to the Final 4,” says Christina, who calls herself the underdog, but admits she could have played more strategically.
Champagne and pinapplepagne for my real friends. Morning! Day 39! Sabrina watches the sun rise. She’s feeling emotionally overwhelmed. She’s reflecting on all of the blessing and on returning to real life. It turns out she’s a teacher, but she was recently laid off from her gig at an impoverished school in Brooklyn. She cries. She speaks eloquently. Interesting. This is the editors re-framing the narrative, since we’ve known almost nothing about Sabrina to date. Kim laments her diminished boobage, which will apparently be the essence of her Jury speech. They collect their lavish breakfast. Chelsea didn’t expect to go as far as she did, saying she came out for the adventures, which may be more important than the million dollars. They enjoy champagne. Kim just got divorced, so this is capping off a tough year for her and she hopes to bring her new-found confidence back to Real Life.
Final Tribal Council – Opening Statements. Yeah yeah. The power shifts now. We know this, Probst. Chelsea’s speech is a love letter to Kim and their status as a pair. Chelsea talks about how her hardest point in the game was voting Jonas out, which allowed her to become Cold-Hearted Chelsea, but she also worries that maybe she didn’t have enough of an emotional connection to the Jury members. That will not win her a million. Kim compares “Survivor” to poker, saying she played as hard as she possibly could have, saying that she couldn’t have played any better strategically. “I hope that you all can forgive me. I hope that you all can see it as a game,” Kim says, not apologizing. It’s not a dynamic speech, but it’s a solid example of the, “Yeah, this was all me. Whatcha gonna do about it? Tribal Council speech. Sabrina’s strategy was balance, saying that she stepped down physically at times in order to not appear to be too much of a threat. Sabrina says she can’t separate the game from real life and she seems to admit all of the things she didn’t do aggressively. She makes her “I was laid off” plea. Hard to imagine that winning for Sabrina.
Final Tribal Council – The Jury Complains. I just don’t get who on the Jury has a real beef here. Jonas starts with a joke, but says he’s happy for all of them. Jonas says that he loves Sabrina, but he’s amazed by how much she sucked at challenges. Jonas thinks Chelsea is “the hottest chick for the season,” asking her for the hugest move she instigated. Chelsea says it was her idea to kick Kat out, which is true. Jonas thought Kim’s game was perfect til the end, but he doesn’t know why she didn’t take Christina to the end. Kim says something about wanting the argument to be “Who played the best game” not people being angry at her. Christina asks a dumb question to Kim. Then Christina asks Chelsea why she hates people. This wasn’t something we saw at ALL in the game. Chelsea swears outside of the game, she isn’t a cold-hearted bitch. Jay begins by saying “no hard feelings.” Jay asks Sabrina why she also took it easy in camp life. Sabrina says it was also strategy, that she’s often overbearing in real life. Mike asks Kim if she’s “perfected the art of the blindside.” Kim makes a smart explanation for how and why she got Troyzan to vote her out. Mike says that Kim took the blame for all of the blindsides she was involved with, but he implies that could be bad. Muscular Mark Twain thanks God and his thesaurus and cries about seeing his wife on the beach. The music swells. He has no questions. Chelsea tells Muscular Mark Twain that his romance with his wife has opened his eyes to what she wants in a partner. KISS UP! Leif is trying to work out his feelings and he wants to know why he’s sad. Kim tells Leif that she was never sure if she could trust him. Alicia tells Kim that they were both kingpins and that if Alicia had been in the Top 3, Kim would be bleeping bleeps. There’s no question where her vote is going. Troyzan congratulates all of them, but focuses on Kim. He asks her one question: When did Kim make the move to demolish him? Kim says it was taking Jonas out of the game. Troyzan implies that was the wrong answer. Kat’s shorts are very short. She’s “destroyed” by Kim. Kat has a secret: It’s something about two open heart surgeries she had when she was a kid. “Take the time that you have and live it to the best that you can,” Kat tells the Jury. Everybody’s crying, suddenly. “I forgive you,” Kat says, as everybody bawls.
The Final Vote. There’s no acceptable vote that isn’t for Kim. This isn’t ambiguous. Anybody who doesn’t vote Kim is a moron. Troyzan writes Sabrina’s name, reducing that tiny piece of residual respect that I may have had. Kat writes Kim’s name. Does that mean nobody votes for Chelsea? I feel like we would have seen it if somebody had, just to suggest there might be three-way drama.
Live Vote Tabulation. “Let’s finish this season off,” Probst says, saying what we’re all thinking. Probst tells them that he has no idea what it takes to win and that whoever wins will have deserved it. Well… OK. Probst tallies: Kim. Sabrina. Kim. Sabrina. Kim. Kim. The winner of “Survivor: One World” is… Kim!
Bottom Line. Whew. That was as straight-forward, easy and deserved a win as one could hope for and I’m glad that knuckleheads like Troy didn’t mess it up for Kim. I’m not going to get into “Best One-Season Player Ever” debates, because Kim was playing against men stupid enough to vote themselves out with Immunity and with women like Christina, but any season is going to have weak players and there’s zero question that Kim dominated this season in every possible way and that there really wasn’t any question that the money belongs in her pocket. We often get to the end of a “Survivor” season and you agree that the person who won deserved to win, but you have to rationalize it on some level. There’s no rationalizing required here. Kim won. She dominated. Great performance. Period.
Bottom Line, II. It was still a fairly dismal season. The editing just had no focus throughout. Fitting that as I finish typing this, Emmy-winning host Jeff Probst is fumbling the live finale left and right. “Survivor” just wasn’t on its game this season, but I’ll be back next season as always.
What’d you think of the finale? Did the right person win? Dumb question.