The season finale of ‘Survivor’ is extra long and extra absurd
And so we’ve reached the end of our journey. The only thing I know for certain is that Baylor isn’t winning.
I was 100%, completely unaware that this was the season finale of Survivor. It started with Jeff Probst suddenly wearing a jacket and speaking into a microphone and I was taken aback. He said, “Welcome to the final episode,” and I was like, “OH MAN AWESOME!” But then he kept talking and revealed that tonight would be three hours of Survivor.
Oh my dear lord.
QUOTABLES & NOTABLES:
- During the “live” (I live on the West Coast, where no television live event is ever live) cold open: “We hope you’re all watching with your friends and family, because we all have one thing in common: WE LOVE SURVIVOR!” Don’t you speak for me, Jeff Probst.
- Our old friend John Rocker gets a name-drop beyond the opening recap reel. Missy reveals that “Big John” left a shoe behind (haha weird), so she cut it and put it over her cast.
John Rocker: so big, his clothes fit over casts. He should be a Big Dogs spokesperson.
- Keith rocking his boots and the immunity necklace while shirtless dot JPEG:
- Baylor is the first person voted off in the episode after Natalie orchestrates some chicanery. Baylor and Missy are really good sports about the whole thing. They seem to be the only ones who get that it’s just a game. I know there are a million dollars at stake, but from what I’ve been able to gather, just being on Survivor allows you to do pretty okay for yourself afterward.
- Balls Up’s brother is going to hurt himself contemplating.
- Keith — beautiful, complicated Keith — gets voted out next, leaving a final three of “I can barely handle one woman at the house, let alone three of them here.” Oh, Keith. We’re introduced to Keith’s wife of 25 years after this in the live portion. This photo from their wedding has pretty much singlehandedly made my watching this season worth it:
- Ultimately, Natalie won it all. I guess if a non-Keith person had to win this season, Natalie was the right choice. I think. I’m still confused about what criteria the jury is supposed to go by. But more on that in a bit.
- JOHN ROCKER AND JULIE RETURNED FOR THE REUNION AFTERSHOW. He and Natalie are asked about their fight. You know, the one where he said he’d punch her in the mouth. He says they’ve all become friends now. That’s very nice.
- Probst, to Rocker: “You made friends with Josh and Jeremy. Black guy, gay guy!” I mean, I don’t know if I would have put it quite like that, but I’m no successful game show host.
- Rocker was asked what was more difficult: facing Barry Bonds or playing Survivor. Rocker said obviously this dumb show was harder, because at least you have a game plan when you’re pitching to Barry Bonds. Also, everyone knows how to play baseball. No one knows how to play Survivor.
SURVIVOR DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE:
- Since this was the final episode, they used an extra-super-long “previously” recap reel. One of the things they kept in this four-minute reel was Wes talking to Probst about how cool it was that he was on Two and a Half Men. Yes, I had to listen to that exchange twice. Thanks, CBS. You’re doing great.
- Sooooo last week Missy injured her ankle and the medic said to get her an X-ray and see whether she broke anything, he’d have to remove her from the game.
But suddenly this episode, she says she has a fracture and is now in a hard cast. How the hell is that fair? Be consistent when people are potentially seriously injured, Survivor. Or I guess when they aren’t, also.
You know what? do whatever you want. I’m free of you after this episode. Woooooo.
- All of the challenges are built for five people, even though Missy can’t participate in any of them. I’ll bet the carpenters on this season of Survivor exchanged some PRETTY savory grumbles.
- There are live interstitials during the final episode. In the first one, Probst is really insistent that the contestants really don’t get a lot of food and demonstrates how little food they get by showing everyone the half-cup of rice the people get ever day … and then showing us the average amount of food an American eats every day. He shows us this by standing next to three stereotypically American meals.
“This is from the USDA! I’m not making this up!” Uh … no one said you were, Jeff. Although now I feel like a chump knowing I can eat a Grand Slam Breakfast, burger and steak fries and huge plate of spaghetti every single day. Probst told me that’s only “about 2,500 calories.” I need to step my USDA-approved eating game up.
- Natalie rambled for quite awhile about how she’s disappointed that she hasn’t made a “big move” and that she needs to make a “big move” but that people don’t like people who make “big moves” and making one could put her in danger. I stand by my assertion that no one actually understands how strategy works on this game and that no one understands it less than the contestants themselves.
- If you live on the West Coast, don’t try to Google anything about Survivor while the not-actually-live finale is airing. Google will spoil everything for you. EVERYTHING.
- Every time someone plays a hidden immunity idol, Probst always says, “This IS a hidden immunity idol,” as though its authenticity is up for debate. I assume at one point someone tried to whittle a fake immunity idol and turn it in. I think they should try that every single time. What’s the worst that could happen? They get sent to Survivor jail? NOTE: Survivor jail is just “civilization.”
- After Natalie double-crosses Baylor in a “big move,” the live version of Probst says, “THAT IS HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME!” If you say so, man.
- Probst’s incessant play-by-play crosses a line during the final immunity challenge. He moves from passive-aggressive sniping to straight up yelling, “COME ON! LET’S GO! PICK IT UP!” at Jaclyn when she falls a bit behind due to exhaustion. Why don’t YOU pick it up, Probst?
She very nearly seriously injures herself just a couple of moments later and Probst suddenly realizes he has to fake empathy for a human being. It’s real touch and go for him.
- They finally reveal how the winner is determined and it’s real silly. Apparently, the three finalists make like a school presentation about why THEY should win to the jury of the last eight people to get voted off. Then that jury decides via vote who gets all the money. I want to see the stats on how many members of this sham jury are actually swayed by the final presentations and haven’t already had their mind made up for quite some time. I would guess “not a lot.”
- Missy equates the Survivor jury’s decision to a jury’s verdict on a murder trial. Survivor: where all people lack perspective or humility.
- So the contestants get “opening statements” to the jury, then the jury members get to cross-examine and gripe at the contestants for a while. Basically, the end-game of all this bickering and circular debate is that they get to do it for extra-long in the final episode. No one kills time like Survivor. It’s art. Horrible, life-draining art.
- Jeremy is emphatic that the votes should go to the person who played the game “the best.” Which is subjective. So basically there’s no rationale. You just vote for whomever you like best. Does … does this mean that in Survivor, you ARE here to make friends? GAME CHANGER.
- Reed used his time to go on a several-minute-long rant about what a terrible person Missy is, causing Baylor to sob uncontrollably. This show is messed up, man.
- After everyone votes, Probst takes the jar of ballots and pisses off back to the mainland. Then everyone has to wait for the live bullcrap show god knows how many weeks later. Awful. Just awful.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, everyone. See you back here in January when Johnny Damon and Terrell Owens are on Celebrity Apprentice.