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Survivor: Philippines Finale – 25 Seasons, And A 24th Winner Is Named

Before I start – my mind has been just as distracted as everyone else’s in the last few days, and it has rendered my appreciation of reality TV muted. As the father of a six-year-old, my heart breaks every time I read a story or imagine the horrors felt by those beautiful children and their caregivers in their final moments, the lifelong wounds left on the minds of the boys and girls who walked away, and the untreatable tearing of the souls of the parents who have to come home to a room full of toys and no child. The whole nation hurts and it feels almost impossible to not hurt. As a dye in the wool Democrat, I couldn’t even watch my President deliver a beautiful speech last night because I knew I would be a bawling mess. I was stunned to see online the pathetic comments by some who wondered where their football was, or where Survivor was. Talk about priorities.

This is where my mind is and probably will be for a while. I can’t fathom the loss felt in Connecticut, only that I know if I was in their shoes, I would be ruined. But I am not. And you are not. And we need things like football games. We need things like Survivor to steer our minds away from evil acts and devastating loss and focus on who has won a million dollars by enduring 39 days on an island. We need to be distracted, because if we focus too much on those terrible moments in that school, well, it sure ain’t healthy. So, that said, I enjoyed three hours of Survivor last night and will now regale you with my pithy comments, sage insights and award-winning wit.**

**Never won an award

One thing is for sure after this finale…I was very wrong about the potential of a Final Two, but I was very right about a couple of other things. I thought up until that Reward Challenge that there would be a surprise twist Final Three. I really did. But once I saw a reward coming, I knew that the show had messed with the formula and would be spending two hours on one elimination and the jury vote. The rest was really just filler. To offset that, the Reward was going to not be food, or comfort, or the long-forgotten Car Curse Challenge (remember those?). It was an advantage in the final Elimination Challenge. I did not like that.

Personally, I am a purist with two challenges. The first post-merge challenge and the final challenge. To me, they should both be basic endurance challenges. I would prefer a classic Borneo hand-on-pole, or All-Stars hand-on-rock, or Palau balance on a buoy. I can live with the Tocantins ball challenge, or the Micronesia ball balance. This is good, because the Final Four here got to do the very challenge that ended Cirie’s chances for her likely win and earned Parvati the prize. However, thanks to his Reward win, Malcolm was going to have an advantage going into this challenge.

As it turns out, Malcolm suffers from shaky hands and really had no shot of winning this balance challenge. But that can’t be guaranteed. Someone, one day, is going to succeed thanks to the advantage if they keep this up, and I still think that this final ticket to the Finals should be a simple “how much do you want it” challenge. Not a “how much do you want it, but boy, it was lucky you won a different challenge” challenge.

So between this useless Reward, a seemingly-endless March of the Dead Survivors and a lot of camp filler, this episode dragged on and on and on – just as I suspected it would. Until the Jury vote, as this jury got its say. If you watched the Ponderosa videos, you knew this lot was going to be trouble. Usually Ponderosa is kind of fun for the jury – remember Coach/JT/Courtney starting a band? This group kind of just brooded. You knew it was going to be bitter, and everyone but Blair and Scoopin’ knew that they were not going to be well-liked.

You and I saw Blair and Scoopin’ huddling and doing strategizing and playing the game, but those scenes were not seen by the other Survivors. What did they see? Blair was crying every other minute and Scoopin’ wrecking his body every which way. How could they be considered a player like Boston Rob or Kim who manipulated events? Even if they really did in a lot of ways. Meanwhile, as every jury member saw coming, and which I (and many of you) correctly predicted, the third member of the Finals was going to win the money. Either Malcolm or Denise would win this game.

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