This season of Survivor had some of the best episodes ever. The blindsides were fantastic, and the first medical evacuation was so emotional. But the past two weeks the show seemed to putter along. They couldn’t do anything about last week’s penultimate episode; Joe had to be evacuated. But this week? What was with that jury decision?
The Reward Challenge
Aubry completely rocked this challenge. She was not going to lose it. It was all her. The final four had to go through an obstacle course, slide blocks into a goal, then pair up the blocks to leave three unmatched blocks that would bear numbers to a combination that would unlock the winning flag.
Aubry was out in front the whole time. She got caught up at the end by pairing up the wrong tiles, but finally got it right and won a meal for herself and one other Survivor. She chose the right person to go with. She knew she was solid with Tai, and she needed to make sure she was as well with Cydney, so chose to take her.
Meanwhile Michelle approached Tai about an alliance to get to final two. She pitched the two of them as the odd men out and wanted him to keep her and vote out one of the other two.
The Immunity Challenge
Without Joe bringing up the end in challenges, that was left to Michelle today. Except she was bringing up the end until she inexplicably won somehow. They had to untie keys out in the ocean to unlock ladders taking them to bags of puzzle pieces. Somehow she came from behind to win.
This put the other three In a pickle. She was the easy out. Now what? As expected, it broke down into two against two. Michele and Cydney worked Tai to vote out Aubry. They wanted her instead of Tai because they rudely said he couldn’t even talk so would be no good in front of the jury. But Aubry was pushing him on forcing a tie vote to end in a fire-starting challenge.
Tai did the right thing and stuck with his alliance with Aubry. They both voted for Cydney, and Cydney and Michele voted for Aubry. In the fire challenge, Cydney was never in it. It was Aubry all the way. Interestingly enough, the jury was cheering on Aubry. I thought right then it was good news for her, as it seemed as if they were on her side.
The Extra Challenge
Jeff Probst threw in a new twist. The final three gathered for a challenge, worried that there would only be a final two. Instead it was a challenge for a reward. That reward was being able to vote out a jury member. If there was someone you knew wouldn’t vote for you to win, here was your chance to get them out.
This stacking challenge could have seen any of them winning. But it went Michele’s way … again. Obviously Joe and Neal were going to vote for Aubry, and while Michele considered getting rid of Joe’s vote, Tai told her his choice would be Neal. Aubry tried to save him saying her vote would be for Scot as he could convince others to vote with him. In the end she chose Neal who had some choice words for her on the way out, telling her she had no chance of winning.
The Last Tribal Council
Unfortunately I accidentally deleted tonight’s show from my DVR, so I don’t have it to go back to to help me write this up, so I’m relying on my memory. But the jury was slamming Michele for not being intelligent enough, not playing the game until the very end, etc. She also took credit for some moves in the game that had tai shaking his head.
Tai’s big mistake here was that he kept going back to his big move in the game of voting out Scot. He needed to point to other good things he did. The jury thought he started out strong and got weaker and still gave him flak for flip-flopping.
It really wasn’t one of those last Tribal Councils where the jury really gives it to the final three. There were no jaw-dropping comments or questions. Just apparently a group of bitter players who couldn’t get over the fact that these Aubry and Tai conspired to vote all of them out.
After the jury voted and Mark the chicken was freed, we made it back to the studio live for the live vote count. In a truly shocking result, Michele won five votes to two. She received five votes, Aubry two, and Tai zero. Zero? C’mon.
How bitter was this jury? Michele did not have a game. She road the coat tails of whoever she could and at the end after winning a few challenges to get there pretended this was all her strategy. But Nick, Scot, Julia, Jason, and Cydney all voted for her, while Deb and Joe voted for Aubry.
Clearly Tai and Aubry were in control of the entire game after the merge. They controlled it all the way. And sure, Michelle had the votes of Julia, her partner, and Cydney, her partner later in the game. But the other three voting for her? They couldn’t get over being blindsided so chose the person who limped along through the game not blindsiding them because she was never in control. Such sore losers and so bitter.
Tai Gets the Last Laugh
But Survivor must have known that this wasn’t the ending we were hoping for. They spent barely a minute talking to Michele about her win. Barely. That is unprecedented. But they couldn’t spend a whole section talking about her strategy as she had none. She really had nothing.
Instead, they moved on to Aubry and spent some time talking about her game, as she did have a strategy, and she went from being completely overwhelmed in the game to catching her stride and aligning and controlling people to get to the final three.
Then Jeff moved on to talking to Tai. But he was interrupted by someone in the audience. It was singer Sia. Or at least we think it was her underneath that wig she always wears. But she saved this whole season and reunion show.
Sia interrupted Jeff and came up and announced being a fan of the show. She talked about being upset that they don’t reward a anyone with a fan vote and secondary prize anymore. So she offered a reward. She gave Tai $50,000 and she gave him another $50,000 to give to his favorite animal charity. He was clearly stunned, as was Jeff.
And after that, time was spent talking about the Scot/Jason/Tai alliance, Cody being evacuated, Julia being the youngest, Deb being odd, and Joe being 71. No more time was spent on the undeserving winner. Her fifteen minutes is apparently done.
A few weeks ago I was saying this was the best season ever. After this result, I don’t think I can say that anymore. We had some of the best blindsides ever, and by that I mean the most deserving. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a Survivor episode as much as when Scot was voted out.
But that’s why they were so deserving of being voted out. They were too bitter. They didn’t have the capability of recognizing that someone else Outplayed, Outwitted, and Outlasted. They were just too bitter, so gave the prize to the person who didn’t hurt them because she was barely playing the game and who was in the final three because she won the last immunity, but was in the final four because the others dragged her there.
They should have listened to Tai when he wanted to get her out. He was right. Instead they said it was a wasted advantage because he used his extra vote on someone who was still there. Instead they should have been looking at it that he was deserving of the win because he knew she didn’t deserve to be there and was in danger of getting dragged to the end and messing up his alliance.
And really that’s the only time Aubry messed up. I think she played a fabulous game. But … she didn’t get rid of Michele when she should have. But I think we’ll see her again. Tai too. If they are willing to do this thing again, I think Survivor producers will be begging to put them into some type of “Favorites” or All-Stars season.
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