Survivor: the finale

Oh me, oh my - what a lot of notes I took.
Oh what an effort it was to sit through - of course it was all good in the end.

And this is the way it went...

Todd and Amanda have had a pact since the very first day. Do you remember that? I did not.
Jeff recaps the the past 30-something days for us. It's a bit tedious.
And who is left? The descriptions are courtesy of the producers:
Amanda: the beauty queen (funny, I never really thought of her that way)
Todd: the flight attendant
Denise: the lunch lady
Courtney: the long shot

Of the four of them, Todd is the only one I thought would make it this far - but there you have it. All four of them promised loyalty to each other from the beginning and it worked.

It's day 37.
Courtney is stunned to be in the final four and hoping to win immunity.
There is no rice left, so it's handy that the reward challenge is for food.
Pizza and soda and beer and brownies will go to the winner of the Climb The Fake Great Wall and Carry Heavy Bricks and Do a 3-D puzzle challenge.
Climb down the wall, build a plank bridge, carry bricks over the bridge and up the wall. Build the puzzle. Big heavy long challenge.

Amanda wins the reward of the "meal they've been craving." She is told she can pick two teammates to share it with and is terribly torn. She chooses Todd, leaving Courtney to make faces and Denise to look crushed.
While they eat, Amanda is honest with Todd and tells him that she is afraid to trust him. He promises to be true to her - but can we believe him?

Back at camp, Denise goes swimming. Poor Denise. It can't be easy to have a flabby body with the young hotties walking around - but I won't give it too much thought as she doesn't seem to, and that is cool. She's never been the popular one she tells us, not in life and not in the game.

Todd tells us he is going to fight to win. We believe him.

Courtney eavesdrops on Todd and doesn't trust him.
Amanda confides in Courtney and Todd gets paranoid watching the women talking.

The next morning, Todd brings word of the famous and boring trip wherein the team memorializes the players they have voted off.
This would have been a good time to take a nap.
We reminisce about Chicken (DAMN), Ashley the pro wrestler (remember how sick she got?, Aaron (the born leader), Sherea (and her bra), Jaime (the 'FUNTASTIC' fake idol player), Jean Robert ('annoying people is part of who he IS'), Frosti (who had an 'unforgettable experience'), James (a big teddy bear), Eric (the good guy), and PG (the fighter).

It's time for the final immunity challenge, and I'm proud of myself because I'm still wearing my sweater tights. Have you ever worn sweater tights for the whole day? It's the fourth level of hell, sort of my own immunity challenge.
Anyway, just as the challenge is explained, Tuvalu was hit with a mighty wind which knocked out our power. After fretting a bit, having the power return and waiting for the cable box to reprogram, we see that the players are balancing dishes on some kind of lever-thing and sweating and aching. I don't know how long it took but it ended with Amanda versus Denise and Denise wanting to make deals. But Amanda didn't go for it and wins....

And therewith, Amanda's whining and sad eyes begin to dominate the evening.
She worries about Tribal Council, she worries about who to vote for - Todd with whom she has allied herself from the beginning? Denise who could use the money?
Why, I ask you, do the Courtneys of the world squeak through this thing?

Denise, who now looks exactly like Fred Flintstone, pleads her case - AND READ MY WORDS CAREFULLY, BECAUSE I TOOK NOTES WHILE IT HAPPENED:
Amanda admires her honesty but feels like she might lose against Denise.
Todd says he won't vote for Denise (not that we believe him), Courtney says Denise doesn't deserve to win 'just because she SUCKS AT LIFE' and Amanda briefly considers voting for Todd.
Amanda explains that Todd is her biggest threat.

At Tribal there is far too much talking. When Jeff speaks to Denise about the possibility of being voted off, Denise tells him that Amanda has her back. Todd overreacts to this statement and blows the thing wide open. I really needed to remove my sweater tights and Denise is voted off.

Amanda looks pitiful, but she's in the final three with Todd and Courtney.
When they get back to camp, Amanda dresses down Todd for making her look bad with Denise. She denies being supportive of Denise and Todd says his reaction was an accident. Amanda doesn't want to celebrate their last night and goes to bed.

On the morning of the last day Courtney tells us she is looking forward to using a Q-Tip - and I, for one, totally get it, what with the sweater tights and all.
A celebratory breakfast has been delivered, they makes pancakes and drink champagne and Courtney is proud.

It's time to burn the camp down! Somehow, this has become a ritual.
Todd knows he's lied and backstabbed but is proud of his game.
Amanda is going to be terribly honest, and, we fear, emotional.She feels blessed to be there and apologetic about the people she crossed.

But now it's in the hands of the Jury and each person states his case.
Todd thanks the jury for getting him where he is, is honest about the way he played and asks them to see the difference between physical strength and strategic playing.
Courtney tells the jury that she never had a plan and was never a fan of the game, but look at her! She made it through!
And Amanda apologizes.

The jury members ask questions, grill the players and ask them to talk about the other two in negative terms.
James is not a 'bitter betty' and plays it upbeat.
JR says he's never gotten along with Courtney but had always said that if Todd or Amanda crossed him he wouldn't vote for either of them.
Amanda keeps apologizing, Courtney is plucky and Todd is open and honest about his scheming.
When JR asks why Todd voted him out Todd is perfectly comfortable telling him he did it because he was his biggest threat. This impresses JR and, for the first time in the season, shuts him up.

As people vote and the mystical switch from China to LA occurs, we debate who played better and the consensus in the room is that it's Todd. It would have to be Todd.
And, in the end, it is.

So, there you are. A lifetime fan of the show mastered the game and won. Which seems fair to us.

During the reunion, James is awarded $100,000 as the most popular player and we learn that Denise is given $50,000 - she had lost her job upon her return from China.
The next season starts in February and the players will be fans versus favorites as Survivors from years past will compete against a team of loyal viewers.

It will be nice to have a break on Thursday evenings, but I am looking forward to February.

Thanks for tuning in.


Jan said…
Nokidding, I told M that they must have eliminated the walk down memory lane part...revisiting the castoff players. Turns out I had dozed off and missed it.
Apparently it was a good time to take a nap.
Nora :) said…
I accidentally tuned in last night when I was awakened from an early migraine-based bedtime by my neighbor playing Christmas carols on his tuba. I finally saw the Courtney person -- yikes! Almost literal skin and bones. And I'm glad the lunch lady person got some money.
Amy A. said…
So glad Courtney didn't win, and I didn't mind that Todd won, at all. He deserved it, schemer that he is.

Can't wait 'til next season!!
Priscilla said…
I totally didn't see 'Todd the winner' coming. I just didn't like him. At all. But then by the time you get down to the final four you just don't really like any of them.
Caterina said…
I saw about 30 seconds of this show (which I do not watch). I caught the part where they awared the lady with the mullet haircut $50,000. Interesting.
Badger said…
Gah. That's all I can say about that.

Except: I was glad to see that Courtney put some weight back on, but with that hair and makeup she looked like DEEP-FRIED ASS at the reunion.
marian said…
I called that final pack of three "the weasles." And the chief weasle won. How this game has changed! I went to bed before seeing James and Denise get their money. I wonder if they'll have Rupurt and James and that woman who plays lacrosse back again next season.

My new addiction is project runway.

glad you finally got those tights off. i could feel them all the way over here.
abrowncow said…
are you keeping track of the Denise drama at home? or have you washed your hands of this season? apparently she totally lied about losing her job and had a little promotion and raise in the works BEFORE she ever left to do Survivor. whatever... playing the "sucks at life" card didn't work anyway.