This Sunday night, Survivor will crown it’s latest winner in the Outwit, Outplay, Outlast SuperBowl of reality-TV. Unfortunately, this season has lacked the drama, intensity and characters of recent years which makes this Sunday’s finale feel more like five-pin bowling.
Let’s face it. The most colourful characters in Nicaragua were voted out early. I have no doubt that if Shannon, Tyrone, Jimmy J. and Jimmy T. went further in the game, things would have been a lot better. Heck, even if Marty and Brenda hung around, the last few weeks would have been highly strategic and far more interesting than watching Jane and Chase attempt to outwit the tribe.
To further highlight this point, this week was the traditional ‘loved ones’ episode where the remaining players get to enjoy a visit from someone they miss back home. Despite many tears being shed (Fabio) and excessive kissing by Dan’s son Matthew that reminded me of the ‘kissing family’ skit on SNL, the addition of ‘outsiders’ to the game had zero impact on the episode.
First the castaways got to watch a short video from their loved ones on a fancy new cell phone. Then, at the reward challenge each was visited by a family member who would participate in the challenge. The Survivors would retrieve bags of puzzle pieces from a pool and then their loved ones would work to solve a word puzzle.
The challenge featured a close race between Chase and his mom versus Fabio and his mom. In the end Chase and his mother prevailed and got to go partake in a Nicaraguan cruise with a full meal. Of course, Chase is asked to invite one other pair to join him, and he strategically (for once) picks Sash and his mom – a first reward for Sash in what seems like weeks. Jeff then informs him that he can take one other pairing, and despite whimpers from Dan and Fabio, Chase picks Holly and her hubby to join in on the cruise leaving Dan to whisper ‘dirtbag’ to his son. Look for Chase to end up in the bottom of the Hudson River with cement shoes in 2011.
With the six reward winners off on their cruise, there’s very little banter between the visiting guests and the players. All we learn is that Chase, Holly and Sash see themselves as the final three.
Back at camp Fabio tells the others that Chase lied to him and had promised to take him on the next reward. Dan, Fabio and Jane quickly realize they are not part of the power alliance.
At the immunity challenge, the players are blindfolded and must make their way down a rope course, use their sense of touch to decipher symbols on a coat of arms, bring a few bags of symbols back to a blank coat of arms, and then replicate the original. This looks like a very tough task and proves to be a challenge both physically and mentally. In the end, Fabio prevails and wins a very important immunity necklace.
As tribal council approaches, the wise old Jane puts 2+2 together and realizes that she is on the outside looking in. Deciding to go aggressive, she confronts Chase and Holly who have a hard time looking Jane in the eye and telling her that she’s a goner – but she knows. Why on Earth Jane didn’t join forces with Danny and Fabio to force a tie-breaker is beyond me – even Jeff was shocked at tribal council to see that the three outsiders weren’t banning together to vote for Holly (Sash and Chase both had idols they had to play so they were safe) and stay in the game – another example of the lack of strategy and drama in season 21.
In the end, Jane, the 56-year-old dog trainer was betrayed by her alliance and sent home. A good move by those left in the game as she would have won for sure if she made it to the end. But Jane didn’t go out quietly. The feisty North Carolinan widow made sure to extinguish the fire at camp before heading to her final vote. “I started it, I put it out.” Good for you Jane.
Holly, Danny, Chase, Fabio and Sash.
Alina, Marty, Brenda, NaOnka, Kelly Purple, Benry and Jane.
While Chase was my pre-season pick, he doesn’t have the respect of the jury. They don’t think he’s smart enough and some feel that he has lied to them. Chase doesn’t win.
Danny will also not win the money because many feel he doesn’t need it. Danny totally got by without contributing around camp, in the challenges or in forming alliances. No chance.
This leaves Holly, Sash and Fabio.
I really have a hard time picking a winner from these three. In Holly you have the mother-figure who was there many times for the younger players in the game and tried to help them get through the tough times. She sacrificed rewards for the better of the tribe, and, other than maybe Jane, didn’t really offend anyone.
Should Fabio make it to the final three, he has a real shot at winning. People like him. He’s played it straight and did enough in challenges and around camp to garner respect. He has no true enemies on the jury. The only question is, does the jury feel he is worthy of their vote. What did he really do to win?
Finally, there’s Sash. He played a very low-key but highly strategic game. I felt he was a goner the moment Brenda got the axe, but he’s still there and still very viable. I ultimately think Sash will win because the Jury – especially Alina, Marty, Brenda, NaOnka and perhaps Kelly will reward him for being the only strategic player in the game.
Here’s to Survivor 22…It has to get better than this or I’m pulling a NaOnka and voting myself off the island.
The Scribe Has Spoken…