Survivor Cambodia Finale Liveblog – “Lie, Cheat and Steal”

It’s our final week of live coverage of Survivor Cambodia.  Follow us on Twitter and Storify!

 

 

 

Matt
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Matt

Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
Matt
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  • Barbara Anderson

    I’m so excited!

  • Saturday Evening Palsy

    XL Pelican has got to be feeling pretty nervous right now. Burn, baby, burn.

  • Barbara Anderson

    I got my fantasy league points up-to-date and Reddit, this livefeed, and Twitter open. Let’s do this!

  • sharculese

    So… that was a top 5 tribal council of all time, yeah?

    • bder19

      up there with the 3 Amigos and Parvati’s idols in HvV

      • gouis

        Parvarti’s is the only one that is close, as it’s the single best move of all time.

        • bder19

          I should’ve liked this tribal more, but I was spoiled on the outcome coming into it

    • Purplerockmatt

      you can think of 4 better?

      • sharculese

        I was trying to be conservative.

        • Purplerockmatt

          top 3 is conservative for that tribal

          • sharculese

            I mean given that this is the 4th season I’ve watched live I don’t want to get too hyperbolic.

          • Purplerockmatt

            want in on the Outcast league?

          • sharculese

            Yeah, if you need another player I’d be interested in that.

            I was gonna do a pick 4 team this season, but then I was without computer when you dropped the page and by the time I had one again it was too hard to figure out what hadn’t been taken.

          • Purplerockmatt

            you can do both! and the pick 4 is still up. we will be drafting here http://www.purplerockpodcast.com/outcasts-kaoh-rong/
            I am still rounding up people but monitor that and we’ll hopefully start drafting shortly

      • Prom King

        Jeremy at his worst (and I’m a big fan in general) knocks it down a bit for me. That was hard to watch. Cringey.

        It was a great tribal, but as far as pure enjoyment goes, I’d rate Four Horsemen Fail, Ozzy blindside, Erik Fail, Stick to the Plan, Parvati’s 2 idols, 3 Amigos, Gretchen Cordy, even Savage blindside as all a bit higher.

        • Other Scott

          I give people a break when they realize they got snowed so very badly and are upset about it. Let’s be honest, Spencer and Tasha insisted on not splitting the votes saved Jeremy’s game for him. I think. Maybe. It’s really hard to tell what was going to happen if a) they did split the votes, or b) Spencer didn’t flash a neon sign to Kelley saying “PLAY YOUR IDOL”

          • Prom King

            Oh I give him a break too, and that moment isn’t something I will hold against him when I think of him or this season. He was upset by being betrayed by someone he trusted and only Spencer & Tasha saved him, I get that. But watching him wag a finger at Kimmi and skip to the vote was still hard to watch! And despite that, he’s still one of my all-time favorites.

      • Adam B.

        It was better than the Jeff Probst Seminar on the Sensitive Subject of Race from Redemption Island.

    • Hurleytennis

      Punctuated by Probst doing statistics on live TV in his tight reunion attire. Golden Age of Television, indeed.

      • sharculese

        Let’s be honest, there were viewers who needed that explained to them. It got complicated.

        • Hurleytennis

          I’m just here for the long-sleeve T’s.

    • gouis

      #1.

    • Kemper Boyd

      hard to think a of a single better one.

    • Ms_Woozah

      it was nuts. mayyyybe tied with parvati’s double idol play, based on pure entertainment value. stephen’s commentary maybe put it over the top for me though

    • andythesaint

      Hmmmm… maybe we should devise a way to decide this definitively…

    • Diego Armando

      I think that might have been the best Tribal council.

  • bder19

    I get the desire to get rid of Kimmi after the way she voted, but if I were Spencer and Jeremy, I’d split between Kimmi and Tasha and send home Keith. Kimmi’s not going to win any challenges

  • sharculese

    I still can’t believe Joe made that flag. Merge tribe flags are generally garbage, and that thing looks so good.

    • Diego Armando

      Joe: Is there anything he can’t do?

      • turgid_legume

        Win Survivor, and prevent Probst from doing a creepy fawning reunion segment.

  • bder19

    Two smart moves:
    Wentworth saving materials to make a fake idol
    Jeremy telling Keith to vote Spencer and voting Keith: Keith’s idol is real and Spencer goes home; Keith’s idol is fake and Keith goes home

    • Kemper Boyd

      Had Kelley got the FTC it’s another thing to say along with playing 2 idols and surviving from being on the very bottom from the merge she even made a fake immunity idol just in case.

    • Diego Armando

      Jeremy could not have played that any better than he did.

  • sharculese

    So I’ve accepted that this episode just straight up not pitching Spencer as a winner. It’s Jeremy or Kelley, both of which I am fine with.

    • Purplerockmatt

      yup I think this episode is about why Spencer loses

      • Scarlett3639

        He’s like the team that does great all season but tanks during the playoffs.

        • andythesaint

          He’s the team that built a good record with a shoddy point differential that’s exposed when the competition gets better. The red flags against his game were always there; they were just harder to spot thanks to his positive edit.

          • sharculese

            I realized this before the finale, but I haven’t had a chance to post about it before now – it finally clicked with me that I was underrating Jeremy’s game because I thought he hadn’t figured out that his problem last time was looking like too much of a godfather, when in reality he seems to have largely figured that problem out but didn’t bother not to look like a godfather to us.

            Which makes me enjoy his win more, because, as I’ve said several times, players who understand how to treat this show like a show are my favorite kind of players.

  • sharculese

    Is Spencer wearing a hoodie?

    • sharculese

      Spencer is wearing a hoodie.

      • Scarlett3639

        Don’t let that distract you from Fishbach’s plaid blazer.

        • gouis

          I think it was a full suit? I’m super into plaid jackets, but suits? Questionable.

          • sharculese

            It was a suit.

          • gouis

            Terrible.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Nahhh man, he wore the hell out of it.

          • purplerockpodcast

            He looked great. And he had awesome shoes.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            This just makes me giggle now.

      • Scarlett3639

        During the Spencer segment I kept expecting him to take the hoodie off and reveal a proposal to his girlfriend.

        • Barbara Anderson

          Me too! But I think Spencer is so out of it.

      • gouis

        You’re not in college anymore, Spence! Dress up!

        • sharculese

          Nope, I’ve decided to call it, dressing down is better. Survivor isn’t the Oscars, and I would actually kind of respect someone who wore a t-shirt to the Oscars. Your appearing in an hour long advertisement for a reality game show, give it as much gravitas as it deserves.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I thought Wentworth looked worse than she looked on the show by quite a distance. That dress colour was not great.

          • Diego Armando

            The women always tend to look jarring in these reunions. I think it is the heavy amount of makeup the crew puts on them after seeing them without any for 2 hours previously.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Valid point, I also strongly disliked her dress colour, I felt it washed out her colouring.

          • gouis

            You are 100% correct. Her blue clothes (and black glasses) in the show gave her look a nice contrast. If you’re that blonde (my wife is) you can’t wear those kind of warm or light colors without starting to look like a ghost.

          • VoicOff

            It’s pretty hard to wear peachy tones dresses if you are light-skinned. You just look sick or naked. Looks better on dark-skinned people. For once crew had the right idea when dressing her in blue.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I’m a very yellowy tinged Yorkshire woman and anything in a pastel or yellow/orange is a terrible decision for me.

          • andythesaint

            Report: Kemper Boyd thinks women look better when they starve themselves past what’s healthy. Read it here first.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think she looks nicer in blue…

      • Kemper Boyd

        He’s only 23 I think it’s allowed.

  • Did that go 10-0? Bold move by Jeremy to pick 2 for Wiggles. PAID OFF.

    • sharculese

      It had to have. If there was a non-Jeremy vote the would have read it.

      • Totally. Just nuts how 2 hours ago it still seemed generally wide open amongst 3, maybe 4 players, and then to end with a blow-out.

        Queen Val unbothered holding a million dollar check. Love her.

    • Purplerockmatt

      confirmed

    • Kemper Boyd

      he played a really really good game.

  • Saturday Evening Palsy

    SAVAGE League! I’m going to the bar! If this were a reward challenge I’d take XL Pelican with me!

    • gouis

      I was right there!

      • Saturday Evening Palsy

        I thought you had it in the bag! You still might because after drinking I’m still bad at math!

  • sharculese

    Savage is still wearing that dumbass necklace.

  • “Fishbach, yes or no: is Joe your valentine?”

    • “Joe, you’re so delicious.” – PROBST, Jeff.

      Shut it down. Shut it all down.

  • Barbara Anderson

    Does anyone know how the Fantasy League points work in the case of the F6 tribal?

  • sharculese

    Probst finally goes to Tasha, uses it as a segue to talk to Joe some more.

  • Marlin925

    Even though Spencer couldn’t win and didn’t get any votes, i still love him! Some times things are not meant to be.

    • sharculese

      Oh this is just like bait for me. Can you please stay here?

      • Purplerockmatt

        be nice Sharculese

        • sharculese

          I was being nice! Is it not clear at this point that I’m a huge Spencer fan?

          • Purplerockmatt

            Haha I actually couldn’t tell there, and I guess I had forgotten.

          • Marlin925

            we gotta stick together.

      • Marlin925

        sure 🙂

    • Sylvisual

      The most heartbreaking thing for me was that he wasn’t watching anymore and only packed a hoodie to the reunion. Hopefully he can rekindle his fandom at some point.

      • Violina23

        I know! I’m late watching the reunion and that just made me sad

    • Ms_Woozah

      The editors did a good job of really making him seem like a viable candidate all season. I said this in my tweet above, but I really do think that the vote would have been closer if his gamebot mode didn’t reemerge at that final 4 tribal council. He really shot himself in the foot there.

      • Violina23

        I think he lost it WAY before then, but threatening Jeremy over voting Kelley out turned indifference to outright disgust from the jury (not to mention, I don’t think Jeremy was EVER considering keeping Kelley)

  • gouis

    Savage laying into everyone at FTC for being arrogant was like catnip for me.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Who better to recognize arrogance?!?

      • gouis

        Yeah I don’t think that was what he was getting at.

      • sharculese

        Terry Dietz?

        • sharculese

          Astronaut Dan?

          • sharculese

            Penner?

          • m0nit0rman

            Blue Collar Dan!

          • Purplerockmatt

            I wanted arrogance not petulance!

          • sharculese

            I… have so many directions I can go with this that I’m going to choose not to out of respect for you.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Yeah that is fair. Thanks for that restraint.

          • Saturday Evening Palsy

            He only recognizes arrogance if it’s italicised.

      • gouis

        Real Talk: was Pearl-Islands-Armani-suit-wearing Savage a fraud? We were led to believe he was a dapper chiseled lawyer who could potentially be a great leader. We are instead now faced with a beanie wearing old surfer bro who constantly claims ‘I’m from NoCal, I’ve always dressed this way’.

        • Other Scott

          No. Savage thinks he’s both things. Savage thinks he is everything, except a wimpy non-leader.

          • Saturday Evening Palsy

            He does think he is a normal person. Like none of his actions are bullshit. One thing he lacks: An assistant Savage.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          “NoCal”

          First of all, how dare you.

          • gouis

            SORRY, NORCAL.

            Gosh California people are so sensitive about their indistinguishable differences from each other.

          • sharculese

            All places are subject to that kind of petty specificity.

            When I lived in DC I insisted that my roommate, who was from Marietta, wasn’t allowed to tell people he was from Atlanta because “if I let you say it, pretty soon people from Cumming will think they can say it.”

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I’m from NorCal, live in SoCal. They are plenty distinguishable!

    • Ms_Woozah

      The irony of that was so delicious.

  • gouis

    Probst staying on message with his gender ‘equality’ in asking questions at the reunion.

  • Marlin925

    the first tribal council was amazing! cant wait to watch it again!

    • Purplerockmatt

      yeah that tribal council was amazing. So many twists and turns and drama. Really awesome moment.

      • corndogshuffle

        That tribal council = GOAT. Nothing on this show has ever topped that level of insanity, at least no tribal council.

    • gouis

      I would also say really good FTC. Even Tasha did a good job defending herself, and no one was particularly bitter. When Stephen is maybe your most emotional juror, it’s a good thing.

      • Roswulf

        And it ended well. Jeremy had been lining up his final speech for the whole season, and he absolutely nailed it. It’s not the kind of strategic complexity the internet folks fawn over, but that’s top tier Survivor play.

  • Scarlett3639

    I feel bad for the next season. It already got bumped and now it has to be under the shadow of this amazing season.

    • gouis

      And it’s going to be a bunch of lame medical issues.

      • Purplerockmatt

        Yeah medical evacuations are my least favorite thing even over quits. Because good players can get medevaced but good players tend not to quit

        • gouis

          Just terrible. Are they also evacuating an entire beach?

          • Purplerockmatt

            I don’t know. I just don’t want a season of misery, they will need to find a way to cheer it up in some way

          • gouis

            Keith…. come on out!

          • Purplerockmatt

            Can we talk about how amazing Keith was tonight. Even as awesome as Wentworth and Jeremy were I couldn’t get over how amazing Keith was

          • Barbara Anderson

            I legit started to cry when Keith was willing to leave so Kimmi could stay in.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Night of Keith!

          • Barbara Anderson

            I have said before and I will say it now: If it wasn’t for Keith in the SJDS premiere, I would not be watching Survivor again. So, I will always have a soft spot for him.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Keith may not be good at the game but as a character I love having him in the game. He’s a good dude, I felt this from SJDS, I remember being really struck by how cool he was with Josh and Reed despite being exactly the kind of guy we’ve seen be a bit of a bigot in early seasons.

          • sharculese

            He did make a point of him and Josh sleeping on separate sides of the fire at exile.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah , true but as country guys go we’ve seem much worse

          • sharculese

            We are the knights who say Keith?

          • Saturday Evening Palsy

            I had to downvote that. You have found a chink in my nerd-cred. I hate that movie. Hate.

          • Other Scott

            And Kimmi! And Tasha was solid in final tribal! And Spencer got a late breaking dolt edit! Everyone rocked tonight.

          • m0nit0rman

            On your Tuk Tuk!

          • sharculese

            I can’t read this without thinking about Coach screaming ‘on your knees!’

          • sharculese

            One of those tribes is going to be on Angkor beach, which we already know is a terrible place to be.

          • Purplerockmatt

            ugh truth

          • Kemper Boyd

            Hopefully slightly better when you aren’t unfairly left with no shelter when both other tribes have one.

          • sharculese

            It sounds like Angkor beach is rough even with supplies, according to everyone who was there. Someone, Varner I think, said that one of the big problems is that because of the local topography doing literally anything at all requires walking uphill.

          • Kemper Boyd

            At least there is a chance it will have slightly better food situation as this was prior to Second Chances.

    • sharculese

      I mostly feel bad for the final 3 who are going to have to wait over a year to find out who won. I almost hope the next FTC is as obvious as this one, just because I don’t want to imagine people wondering for that long whether they won.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Imagine it being like 4-3-2 and all of them not being able to sleep thinking about whether or not they did it!

    • Kemper Boyd

      The worst seasons of Survivor come after great returnee seasons. Nicaragua and Gabon suck, they’d have sucked anyway but they are so bad because they came after HVV and Micronesia.

      • Other Scott

        And Vanuatu was received horribly at the time as well.

        • Purplerockmatt

          well that is because it sucks… (ducks)

          • Other Scott

            I’m out of lockstep with Purple Rock on a few seasons, but hating Vanuatu is the one I don’t really understand.

            Is it just because you guys don’t like Chris? I mean, I don’t like Chris either, but that doesn’t make the Yasur girls alliance collapse not fascinating.

          • Purplerockmatt

            Vanuatu is fine, it isn’t a bad season, but I don’t think there is anything especially compelling about it

          • Other Scott

            I love majority alliance collapses, so I’m biased towards it. And this is the best majority alliance collapse.

          • sharculese

            No, that is also Philippines.

          • Other Scott

            I haven’t seen Philippines yet Shark so stop making me feel guilty about it!

          • sharculese

            Oh man, if you are a fan of watching majority alliances unintentionally destroy themselves do yourself a favor and watch Philippines this off season.

            Although maybe wait a week or two before you do it, or else Abi fatigue might compromise your enjoyment.

          • Other Scott

            It’s next on my list. I have to finish Tocantins, then I started RI because a friend of mine started watching it but I already hate it and I’m on the “good” episodes, so…I don’t know when I want to subject myself to that.

            I can never get tired of Abi.

          • sharculese

            If you like Abi then full speed ahead but warning, she was better behaved this season.

          • Diego Armando

            “I hit Skupin with a coconut, that was a mistake?.

          • Diego Armando

            Or Tocantins, or Cook Islands.

          • Brenda4evah

            Those are all fine collapses but for sheer stupidity it’s hard to beat the men on One World.

          • Diego Armando

            But these other seasons are not terrible

          • Brenda4evah

            Oh that…. True, but there’s something awesome about watching one person utterly dominate the game from beginning to end (provided they’re a first-timer who hasn’t had the deck stacked in their favor). It’s like watching a no-hitter, which in a sense is watching things not happen.

          • Diego Armando

            Kim was great (although not the most dynamic of personalities), but you had to put up with watching some of the most horrible people they have ever put on the show to view her season. Of the two beat down seasons, I would personally rather watch Redemption Island (which is also bad), since Rob has enough charisma to make the boringness bearable and I didn’t hate any non-Russell participant as much as I did Colton, Alicia or Captain Douchebag.

          • Brenda4evah

            Those three plus Matt (forgotten early boot but trust me he was just terrible) are all on the Villains vs. Villains season I’ve cast in my head. And I might be be in the minority, but I think that if Coach could have dialed back his Coach-ness even 10% we would have had three consecutive beat down seasons. What a dark time for Survivor.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I don’t remember anything from Vanuatu that wasn’t on the funny 115.

          • sharculese

            And other than “I’m just sitting in the hammock” and the Eliza/Amy moment I would call the Vanuatu stuff some of Lanza’s less compelling material.

          • andythesaint

            Honestly, I just didn’t really like it at the time and have never revisited it. I’ll accept that it might be better than I remember. I won’t accept that it’s as good as the contrarians have suggested it is.

            As for Chris, my biggest bone of contention is that people are always so quick to give him credit for the way he worked his way from the bottom without ever giving him his share of the blame for being on the bottom in the first place. It was a self-inflicted wound that probably made me write him off early and never come back.

    • Ms_Woozah

      Not sure I’m super looking forward to Survivor: Medivac

    • Diego Armando

      I am getting bad omens for the next season: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty vs. Medical Evacuation. I wonder if part of the reason they bumped it was because the producers realized people would not care for it. I hope I am wrong. Also, gay Yau-Man looks like he could be a lot of fun.

      • turgid_legume

        There’s no reason to invent conspiracy theories about bumping a season. S32 began filming on March 30, 2015. Voting for S31 wasn’t announced until May 6, 2015. It would have been really odd if they announced the voting in May only to turn around and be all, oh that’s nice that all this voting generated that buzz, but you’re going to have to wait 9 months before seeing those players you voted for begin to actually play. First, here’s a batch of complete strangers that have nothing to do with that vote you did went through. It just wouldn’t have made sense to air them in order, as it would have undercut everything. It was dictated by the natural logistical needs.

        • Violina23

          This explanation makes sense, and I really hope you’re right! I didn’t get a good vibe either.

          Medical evacuations are NOT entertaining, CBS!

  • Barbara Anderson

    I am ultimately a bit underwhelmed with this season. Although it did deliver some great strategic moves and Tribal, I don’t know if it delivered in the storytelling department.

    • sharculese

      I dunno, I kind of loved it. So, for reference and for anyone who doesn’t know, I only started watching Survivor with Cagayan, which means I’ve seen three seasons where going into the finale you had a pretty solid idea of who the winner was going to be, so it was really refreshing to watch a finale having no idea at all what was going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, 1 out of the 3 seasons I’d watched live previously was fantastic, but… you kind of knew where things were going.

      Would it have been more solid in the storytelling department if it was a clear narrative about how Jeremy was going to win? Maybe? But it would definitely have been less fun to watch.

      • Purplerockmatt

        I think the Jeremy signs were there all along, but we also got narratives for some of the also rans so that we weren’t sure until near the end

        • sharculese

          Right, yeah, that’s what I’m saying. This season was better for having the material to make plausible cases for Kelley and Spencer and being willing to use it.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yep precisely. I am not on board the idea that there was weak storytelling this season

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think some people have felt the overall narrative was a bit messy, the Savage hates Fishbach stuff was unneeded when a little more Kimmi wouldn’t have gone amiss etc.

          • Purplerockmatt

            those are literally my only two complains about the story-telling, the Savage v Fishbach stuff went nowhere for either of them, and Kimmi should have had a bit more time, but those are fairly minor complaints

          • gouis

            I really didn’t mind the Savage v Stephen thing from a narrative standpoint. Not every story has to be be about the people who make the end. It was both a red herring (which Survivor needs more of), and a simple glimpse into the dynamics of that tribe and an encapsulation of both of those players (who were important) psyche.

          • andythesaint

            A big part of the Savage vs Stephen thing was actually part of Jeremy’s winners arc. The protective internet was all focused on Savage calling Stephen “disgusting” for suggesting Jeremy might be looking for an idol (which, btw, was one of my least favourite Savage moments). But the moment of ACTUAL importance was Jeremy reacting to Savage’s story by having a private moment. It was about Jeremy’s struggle to keep control of his emotions.

          • sharculese

            I think part of it is also that production was precisely as enamored with the new school vs. old school stuff as they appeared to be, and the Savage/Stephen rivalry was a way of carrying it into the post-merge, even after that kind of talk had largely disappeared. And I think some of it is legit important – you can’t talk about Jeremy’s game without talking about his loyalty to Fishbach; him reining Savage in when they’re trying to turn on Stephen is a pretty defining moment for him, both in terms of what it says about how he’s playing and his position in the game.

            But there are ways of fitting that stuff in without framing it as an epic collision you know isn’t actually going to happen.

          • sharculese

            The problem with the Savage/Stephen thing isn’t that it just didn’t pay out because neither of them had anything to do with the other’s ouster. I don’t mind a story that has nothing to do with the winner, if it’s going somewhere, but this just kind of fizzled out.

            See Jeremy vs. Josh in SJdS for a better version of this plotline, and then marvel that I claimed there’s a way in which SJdS is better than this season.

          • Other Scott

            For me the flaw was halfway through the merge I really had no clue where anyone stood or why, and therefore couldn’t really analyze any stories. It all makes sense in hindsight, but in the moment the game was too unstable to make sense of.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Something like Savage v Fishbach is fine for a first time players season because it gives non winners a storyline but not in this season, it wasn’t needed.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I agree, you felt like if Kelley or Spencer made the right moves they could have won but ultimately they didn’t. Spencer will now forever be in the pantheon of second placers who handed their win to the opponent by never making a move. Spencer and Fishbach reunited.

      • corndogshuffle

        I’m also a new recruit. Worlds Apart was the first season I watched as it aired, but I’ve done quite a bit of catching up since the show hooked me (I’m a little embarrassed to admit how much I’ve watched the last half year) and I loved just about every minute of this season. I jumped on the Jeremy train early so I think that helped me see more of what the story really was. They did a great job of showing how some other players could have won when really Jeremy had destroyed everything.

        • sharculese

          I’ve seen literally all of Survivor since I got into it through Cagayan, and people have only made the mildest of fun of me for that. You’re around other nerds, don’t worry about admitting how nerdy you are.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I started watching at Cook Islands (because of all the publicity and being at university with little better to do) and I think I watched every early season in about 2 weeks after it finished.

        • Prom King

          Worlds Apart was the first season I watched

          I’m very sorry about that but I’m glad you stuck with the show!

        • gouis

          Hardly anyone has started with the very first episode and been a fan all the way through. I watched the first four seasons live, and then dropped out because I went to college. Then I watched some here and there as they aired (Palau, Cook Islands, HvV), but didn’t get fully back in until Caramoan, as I was married and boring and going out less.

          Anyway, we take all types so welcome.

          • Sylvisual

            Oh man, Caramoan was your re-entry point? Glad you stayed.

          • gouis

            I’ve caught up with most of the other seasons, and I don’t think Caramoan is nearly as bad as the internet does. I liked Cochran, and as a viewer I had never seen the ‘nerd’ win before. Of course Malcolm is a delight, and Andrea and Dawn were both decent. I actually missed the first two episodes or something so it was a short pre-merge for me.

            The thing ‘superfans’ forget is that if you’re not judging against what you consider a ‘good’ season to be, even mediocre seasons can be real fun. I hadn’t seen anything for a few years, so I wasn’t bored by all the normal Survivor stuff. You also have no idea how to read an edit. It’s why lots of younger fans now like SJDS.

          • Sylvisual

            For me, the pre-merge and Brenda-Dawn finale stuff was SO toxic that it cast a shadow on my love of Cochran and a pretty good post-merge. I’m not one of these people who think it’s awful because the Cochran edit was so obvious. I just think it’s mediocre—5-6 episodes of fun drowned in 7 of another reality show.

            That is really scary to think about why Reddit is so pro-SJDS now. (Plus recency bias.)

          • Violina23

            Fair enough, the Brenda/Dawn stuff was pretty awful.

          • Ms_Woozah

            Yay, a fellow Caramoan defender! I don’t care what anyone says, the post-merge was aces. Great winner, even if I’m still mad about how mad people were at Dawn.

          • gouis

            Not to mention Phillip was fun to hate, Reynolds and Eddie were pretty, Erik was a fun doofus, overall a lot to point to in the jury phase.

          • Sylvisual
          • gouis

            ..

          • Purplerockmatt

            once you get out Brandon I contend that Caramoan is fun.

          • Diego Armando

            Caramoan is half awful, half fantastic. Your opinion on it will depend on whether the great second half overpowers the lousy first half. I personally like it.

          • Violina23

            I liked it, but not unlike @purplerockemma:disqus, my opinion is clouded by the geek/nerd pride for Cochran’s victory. Although, I don’t want to date him, I just want him to come and hang out with my fellow geek friends and play board-games and be sarcastic 😉

          • Ms_Woozah

            South Pacific was my reentry point. It’s a wonder I’m still here.

          • andythesaint

            “Hardly anyone has started with the very first episode and been a fan all the way through”
            https://youtu.be/WEiPaAeb9R4?t=2m13s

          • gouis

            That’s why you’re our dear leader.

          • Saturday Evening Palsy

            Greatest Survivor player ever.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Andy and I have. It’s why we’re so smugly superior!

        • Diego Armando

          That is fine. I have watched 6 seasons within this year also. Welcome to our club.

      • Barbara Anderson

        But I think it was a bit uneventful when you realize that 1/2 of your final 6 had no shot of winning.

        • sharculese

          ONLY half of the final 6 had no shot of wining. That’s an unusually high number.

        • Purplerockmatt

          usually going into the final episode we are lucky if we have two people we think can win

        • corndogshuffle

          That’s a great number and just about guarantees we will have a “worthy” winner. If most of the final six have a chance of winning that probably means you have a goat island.

          • Barbara Anderson

            I guess I was hoping for something else. I know I sound like the kid who has an ice cream cone but wants a candy bar as well. Maybe this season can age better for me on a rewatch.

          • corndogshuffle

            Hey what you like is what you like right? I didn’t love Micronesia at all but there’s a lot of people who would call it #1 or #2. I just think having 3/6 players with a real chance to win is amazing is all.

          • Barbara Anderson

            Yeah. I guess I just knew that Jeremy’s win was inevitable even if we got good edits from Spencer and Wentworth. Thank God I went with my heart and picked my three SJDS people for Fantasy League.

          • Diego Armando

            That is fine. Liking different things is what makes these discussions fun. If we were all in agreement, there would be no need for debate, reviews or defending your viewpoint, all of which allow you to obtain a greater understanding of the people around you.

          • Barbara Anderson

            Good point! I just hated all of the dropped storylines and characters.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Half? usually it’s 4/6 have no shot and you are just looking at which of the two who could win takes the other one out and often ithappens at 5 or 6 so 4 onwards is boring as hell.

      • Prom King

        I think the editors did a great job turning Spencer into a genuine threat to Jeremy. I’d say that with a few exceptions, the first episode of each season features the winner in a striking way. And the rest of the season is a game the editors play of juggling a narrative that explains why the winner wins and other narratives that function as red herrings. Cambodia did a great job in the last few episodes of distracting viewers away from what was otherwise a pretty clear winner’s edit for Jeremy.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I think Cambodia did very well because the first episode set up Wentworth really well too so when you got deeper in, you had that feeling that a scrappy underdog thing could happen and honestly 4th for her from where she was at the merge was still a great game.

          • Prom King

            I think the editors did a great job with Wentworth, and she did a fantastic job herself. But not once did I think she was going to win. Her character was not made complex enough compared to Jeremy and Spencer – it was all game, game, game. At the beginning, based on their edits, I figured the winner would be between Jeremy, Spencer, and *cough* Varner. I never really wavered from that.

          • Ms_Woozah

            Varner was a GREAT pre-merge red herring. I’m still pretty sad he didn’t make it further.

          • Diego Armando

            I picked Varner for the Savage league. I could have picked Jeremy instead. If I could do everything over again, I would still pick Varner. I love that man.

        • Crappy

          I think ‘how Spencer lost’ story line was more prominent this season than ‘How Jeremy won’. That may just be down to Spencer pulling in a lot more votes than Jeremy when they had the voting for second chances.

          • Other Scott

            I actually disagree, but both stories were pretty clear.

          • Prom King

            I agree and that logic makes sense to me, in addition to that story line just being an unusual and emotional story line that the editors recognized made for compelling tv.

        • Barbara Anderson

          If you are interested in this idea of how the winner’s edit is featured in the first episode, RHAP did a really intriguing and short episode on it this summer.

          • Prom King

            In general I’m a fan of RHAP but their tendency to overly focus on strategic moves as a way to win sorta drives me up the wall. Because that’s not how a player actually wins!

          • Barbara Anderson

            That one is really interesting though. It has Paul from Survivor Historians discussing how not only how the winner presents his or her narrative, but also how others see the winner in the premiere.

          • Prom King

            Ok, I’m sold. That does sound interesting. Will dig through their episodes and check it out!

          • Barbara Anderson

            Now, I’m scared that I oversold it. I liked it. I hope you liked it too!

        • Violina23

          I think the editors did a good job of really making it look like Spencer had a chance to win — because anyone who was paying attention to the jury as it formed, it became pretty obvious, especially by the last 2-3 episodes, that he was NEVER going to get any of their votes. But to the casual viewer, he seemed as “in it” as anybody.

      • Ms_Woozah

        100% agree

    • Other Scott

      The hindsight storytelling was way better than the in the moment storytelling for me. Which is great, but doesn’t completely out-do my confusion and apathy to some of those middle-merge Stephen episodes.

      Still probably a top 10 season for me, though.

    • Violina23

      I enjoyed nearly every single episode, was thoroughly entertained, and there were very few episodes I was sure who was going home before the vote was revealed. Most of the contestants were likable, so this is definitely an upper 3rd season for me.

  • Ethan Kyle

    Bottom 5 season

    • gouis

      Nice try, Dan.

      • Ethan Kyle

        If thats the Dan i’m thinking of you take that back or i will hunt you down -_-

        • Diego Armando

          You are not helping your case.

  • Diego Armando

    I have written my final review for the season. You can view it at https://robertsreviewsandmusings.wordpress.com/, I want to thank everyone who was read any of my reviews or posts. These has been a lot of fun for me to write and I really hope that I brought something enjoyable for the readers. I love you all.

    I am now very tired and will catch up with the rest of you tomorrow. This was a fantastic season, easily in my top 5 and I am eager to see what else people thought about it.

  • gouis

    Anyone else notice that Terry’s son had the same necklace as Savage?

    • sharculese

      Danny Dietz is a teenager, he still has the luxury of making those kind of poor life choices in a way that Andrew Savage doesn’t anymore.

  • Saturday Evening Palsy

    Jeremy and Keith:

  • Prom King

    I was really not into Probst’s dye job or over-gelling or whatever was happening with his hair during the reunion.

  • turgid_legume

    If we’re judging finales by how many times I shout “holy shit” and put my hands over my mouth in disbelief, I think this one takes it.

    Because, holy shit.

    Even the reunion was non-terrible, which was not a given going in. There was no time wasted on some random kid in the audience. I could have done without Probst plugging Ponderosa like it’s a revolutionary new thing, but eh, I guess there are casuals to service. And it was great that Kelley got a whole little segment acknowledging her gameplay — despite placing fourth, I think we can say she spiritually finished second. Would have been nice to hear from Shirin, but it’s understandable that there were just so many other things to get to, given her small role in the season.

    It’s way too early to really talk about who might likely be a returnee from this season. But I’m going to go ahead and put it out there that Joe, Kelley, and Spencer are probably locks to return if they want to, and that Keith has probably had his fill of Survivor.

    • andythesaint

      I think Kelley will now be treated like one of the elite female players in the history of the show by the show. I also think that she would’ve won if she made the finals.

      • gouis

        I think deservedly so.

        • andythesaint

          Agreed.

      • Kemper Boyd

        I think so, she’ll definitelt be held in the pantheon of greatest women not to win, with Cirie and Amanda.

      • Diego Armando

        She would have and I have no doubt that Spencer would have pushed hard for her.

      • Roswulf

        I’m terribly sad we were robbed of a Kelley-Jeremy final tribal by Jeremy being sensible.

        I think there was a reasonable chance Kelley gets Spencer-Abi-Kass-Ciera-Keith, Jeremy gets Kimmi-Joe-Savage-Wiggles-Stephen.

        Meaning that the same pair that had already given us the no-vote tribal earlier in the night would have ALSO yielded the first tie vote at final tribal. And that would have been something.

        • sharculese

          In his blog Stephen claimed the Spencer stuff was bluster and, realistically, he probably would have been a Jeremy vote. Which sounds plausible to me.

          • purplerockpodcast

            But Kimmi and Keith both claimed they would’ve voted Kelley. I’m a little iffy on if that was actually true with Kimmi, but I believe Keith.

            So at worst, we’re talking a 6-4 final tribal council.

  • Kemper Boyd

    Guys, I watched it on the bus this morning. I am calling this a really good season with a really really good winner.
    I liked Kimmi’s exit, I think it was a best case scenario for her after the edit, she will go down forever as the one voted out in the craziest tribal we’ve ever seen. Kimmi has also set down an argument for bringing back players from earlier seasons. I wanna see T-Bird, Neleh and Lil back please.

    • Other Scott

      One voted out in the craziest tribal? Kimmi basically caused the craziest tribal. There should be no props given to Ciera for the rock draw that shouldn’t equally be given to Kimmi for forcing a tie in an attempt to get out the eventual winner that no one else seemed to have interest in voting out here.

      • Kemper Boyd

        She made the only move she could make to get passed 4th, it’s a great move.

  • Kemper Boyd

    One last question: Should Keith have worn the fake idol, like the three amigos worn their real ones, just to see what it did?

    • gouis

      Yes

    • Purplerockmatt

      oh yeah absolutely, but even better would have been if Kelley had come in with the idol and gave it to Keith before they voted. said something like “well i know who isn’t going home today”

      • Kemper Boyd

        Do a Mike and say “I’m wearing immunity and I’ve got this idol I’m playing for Keith, decide who goes”

        • andythesaint

          The issue is that at the final tribal council, there’s no reason to flip the other side with an idol. You just play it if it’s real and hold all the cards. Keith wasn’t going to try, but this is the one where there’s no value in doing anything with the idol but playing it.

          • Kemper Boyd

            That’s sort of what I mean about Kelley not letting Keith have it but pull it out at the beginning of the TC and say look guys, Keith and I are voting for one of you, this is an idol I will play for him, you can decide whether you want to risk it being your name we write or you can vote for one of the other 2.

          • Purplerockmatt

            right that was my suggestion

          • Kemper Boyd

            yep yep yep! No plan should involve Keith doing something.

          • sharculese

            Unless your name is Natalie Anderson.

          • Kemper Boyd

            she is baller.

          • Violina23

            Hey, to be fair, I thought Keith did an admirable job, short of just flashing the thing a-la @disqus_R9cNRvxsfG:disqus and @purplerockmatt:disqus

          • Violina23

            See, that (to me) would have been a sign that it’s a bluff — because it’s the last tribal it can be used, so why would you bring it up BEFORE the vote if it was a real idol?

          • sharculese

            This. Plus they had a known pattern of behavior on how Kelley plays idols to compare it to.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah, although with a real one, you know it’s real so you just hold it, aim to get the votes on you and then use it so you can get out the person YOU want gone.

          • Saturday Evening Palsy

            I can see that as being dependent on the situation. Let’s say you are in a two person alliance facing off against a three person alliance. You have an idol and the immunity necklace so at camp you say “Hey, We’re staying and we’re each voting for a different one of you.” What does that do to the remaining three? How does that affect their opinion as a jury member? Somebody has to burn one of the others.

          • Brenda4evah

            If Kelley hands Keith the idol before the vote, in order for Jeremy/Tasha/Spencer to call Kelley’s bluff, all three of them have to realize its a bluff, but in order for them to fracture, only one of them has to panic. So that tips the odds a bit in Kelley’s favor, especially in the pressure cooker of tribal council. She could have sowed even more chaos by saying something like “Keith and I are still going to be here tomorrow, and I want to find out who we can work with.”

            It’s still a Hail Mary pass, but you throw a Hail Mary when you have no other options.

          • Violina23

            I think trying to spook them out BEFORE the vote was just as much of a hail mary 😉

          • Brenda4evah

            We’re saying the same thing. She needed to get the three to fracture, and her best shot IMO was to hand Keith the idol right before the vote.

            BTW, I just realized that she must have cannibalized Kass’ birthday present, which she thought was a fake idol.

          • Violina23

            I meant back at camp, not at the actual tribal.

            Two different approaches, but who knows — maybe yours would have worked better. Jeremy certainly looked like he was getting REAAALLLLY paranoid back at camp. Presumably it was Tasha/Spencer who talked him down from the ledge, that might not have happened at tribal 🙂

    • MrBurkesButtons

      No. Keith never had a chance to win this season. Cheatin’ and schemin’ with a fake idol gambit would only make him “look stupid” in front of his massive casuals fanbase who love Keith for being Keith (a crowd who wouldn’t appreciate the complexity of Kelley’s plan, anyway).

      The best play is not to bluff your way through… it’s to go out with a wistful smile and an aww shucks.

      • Brenda4evah

        All the more reason Kelley should have handed it to Keith before the vote.

        • Kemper Boyd

          Violina23’s point still stands, Kelley has played two idols, they know how she plays her idols, quietly with no warning, why would she change? The other players know if she’d had a real idol she would have held it and then played it for Keith when Jeff asked.

  • Crappy

    It is amazing how Spencer ended up being trapped in either taking Jeremy to a final 3 and losing or taking him out and probably miss out on the final 3 all together. The episode after the Stephen vote, when Tasha first made that final 3 deal, he did indicate that he was not set on that final 3. But by the end, he was fighting so hard just to keep Jeremy and Tasha along side him.

    I don’t think the Abi vote off council tribal was his big mistake. He should have sided with Kelley and Keith and voted out Jeremy at final 5. Then it is down to him and Kelley at final 4 where both have to win immunities to stay. The other goes home. Going to FTC with Tasha and Keith does not ensure win, Keith may still win. Yes.. watch his ponderosa.. everyone seemed to love Keith. But there is now way it is a shutout then.

    Tasha .. though seemed set on that final 3 since the beginning. She also hinted at a pre-game thing with Spencer at that FTC. Something they both even seemed to hid from the camera.

    • Scarlett3639

      I think Spencer is just too young and hasn’t had enough experience yet. His people skills are just not there.

      Just for some perspective, both seasons Spencer has played he has been younger than Boston Rob was in Marquesas. I would love to see Spencer come back and try again in 5 or so years.

  • Scarlett3639

    I’d like to express my appreciation to Matt for the liveblog. It has been the cherry on top of an amazing season.

    • Purplerockmatt

      aww thanks. it was fun, but also exhausting enough I’m happy for the offseason

    • Sylvisual

      Thanks Matt for not making me have to do it all season!

    • Ms_Woozah

      Yeah, great job Matt! Was a lot of fun.

      • Purplerockmatt

        Thanks!

    • Violina23

      Thank you! I rarely got to follow live, but I had a blast reading them

    • Diego Armando

      Great job on this Matt.

  • Other Scott

    So many thoughts:

    1. OK, I was a naysayer for a while but the season really came together at the end. I think the whole “voting blocs” thing was a bit of a smokescreen, because Jeremy was always playing the alliance game. From the merge, Jeremy had Stephen, Kimmi, Tasha, Savage and Spencer close to him and those were the people he was going to play with. Sometimes they started targeting each other within that, but Jeremy was always able to Godfather those inner rifts enough that the other side never was able to get the upper hand. It was a well played game by him, and I think looking at the season from the perspective of how everyone in the game related to him throughout makes the season make a lot more sense. Which was always my major knock, that seems just didn’t seem to make any sort of sense. I think it would be a good season to rewatch, And storytelling-wise, each of the final 7 at least had a really great and dedicated story, even if Kimmi’s really only emerged in the finale. How those stories connect is a little weird.

    2. Fantastic underdog game by Kelley. I mean, Jeremy played great, but Kelley played just as great to get in a 50/50 position with Jeremy that whoever won the final immunity challenge was winning the game despite having alliances collapse on her literally the entire game. Hard to say what the result would have been if Tasha or Spencer won, but Jeremy was apparently playing the Tina card of “as long as it isn’t that side” throughout, so that might have been enough. I always get into these root for the underdog positions easily, but by final 5 I was rooting hard for Kelley, which is something I wouldn’t have predicted.

    3. Obligatory mention of that final 6 tribal council. Wow.

    4. I don’t think FTC really matters all that much. I really thought Tasha of all people did the best job explaining the game she played, but that wasn’t going to matter. Jeremy screwed up Keith’s question at the very least.

    5. Underrated Kass-Spencer thing, Kass works her queen of Ponderosa card to get Spencer no votes. The football is pulled out again. (Note: I don’t actually know how much Kass contributed to that, but hey, let me have my story.)

    6. Since Season 26, 5 of the last 6 winners have been male. I think this whole “gotta make big moves and play a power game” philosophy Survivor has adapted really benefits the males. We’ll see if that trend continues.

    7. I think Spencer may have played a Russell Hantz game. Had to work hard to get into final 3, but did so in a way that made it extremely hard for him to win. That final 4 tribal was just a bad look, and he didn’t need to do it.

    • Other Scott

      One more thing to add to point 6:

      A woman hasn’t won a final 3 with a man in it since South Pacific.

      • sharculese

        Philippines but close enough.

        • Other Scott

          Philippines is a season that existed that I forgot about for some reason. Probably because I forgot there were good seasons in that stretch.

      • Kemper Boyd

        wasn’t this Parvarti’s thing? that the best way for a woman to win is to sit next to another woman.

        • Other Scott

          Haven’t seen Micronesia yet. But yeah, when Parvati said it there had been an 8 season gap between women beating men in the finals, in the midst of what would eventually be 11 seasons, in which men won 7 straight mixed tribals. There was a nice stretch between Samoa and Philippines where women won 4 of 5 mixed finals, but we’re back to men winning four in a row again.

          These things are a little cyclical, but the cycles are tipped heavily in favour of the men.

  • Ms_Woozah

    Just watched the Ponderosa videos. Keith’s in particular was great. He had by far the most excited welcome.

    Congrats to Emma and John on securing tickets to the finale! I hope there’s a fun behind-the-scenes post coming up. Mostly I want to know how much Emma embarrassed herself in front of Cochran. (I would have been a blathering mess.)

    • gouis

      When Keith was just shootin’ the shit with the old timers in the woods… just incredible.

      • Ms_Woozah

        Also – I had to rewind the scene in the actual episode where Jeremy is trying to get Keith’s attention. What a treasure that man is.

        • Saturday Evening Palsy

          That was my favorite scene from last night. My two fantasy picks, working together…

    • Crappy

      I wasn’t than keen on him after SJDS but after this season Keith is an all time Survivor character for me. The best thing about him is that he is all natural, not need to play it up for a TV show. Hail the casuals who voted him in!

      • Violina23

        TOTALLY agree. I was not a fan in SJDS, but I enjoyed him a lot more this time around

    • Purplerockmatt

      I think people constantly underestimate how much Keith is beloved of everyone that plays with him

    • Kemper Boyd

      He seems like a good dude, I’m listening to Know-it-all from last night and he said to them his thoughts with Kimmi was “she’s a single mom, I’ve not been a millionaire for 54 years, I can handle another 54 without being one”. I think that’s the sort of thing that draws people to Keith.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      I’m still planning on sending you the story girl, I promise. But I definitely embarrassed myself. And then John and his wife embarrassed me further.

      But I talked to Stephen about you!

    • purplerockpodcast

      Just wait until I tell the story of what my wife and I told Cochran about Emma.

  • tocantins

    To those that complained that Wigglesworth didn’t have a storyline this season, she finally completed her storyline, as someone that joined a show she doesn’t watch nor like just so she could get to the jury and have revenge on the people that denied her a million dollars 15 years ago.

  • Other Scott

    Fantasy question: How the heck do you score that final 6 tribal?

    Edit: My suggestion. Jeremy and Kelley gets points for playing idols correctly, and everyone gets VTEP points for coming to a consensus on Kimmi.

    • purplerockpodcast

      I’m not entirely sure yet. Definitely idol points for Jeremy and Kelley, and your VTEP suggestion seems reasonable.

    • Barbara Anderson

      That would be my hope and not because I want Keith to get some VTEP points for once at all.

  • andythesaint

    I think I said this in the offseason when talking about Tony’s win and was met with some pushback, so I want to put it out there again for some feedback: is the Under the Radar strategy dead? Can you get a modern jury to vote for you by staying under the radar?

    • sharculese

      I don’t think anything can truly die, but as long as the show, and especially Probst, keep pushing this fixation on ‘big moves,’ it’s maybe dormant. But I think if you got the right person at the end someone who could articulate ‘hey, big moves aren’t the same as smart moves. Player x was running around acting like a crazy person while I staid out of the crosshairs and kept my ducks in a row. I should have gone out here, here, and here, but it didn’t happen and now here I am,’ I think that person can win.

      Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if this season starts a shift away from ‘big moves’ as the focal point of Survivor. You saw player after player looking for that resume defining move to the detriment of their long game, while Jeremy mostly just kept a steady hand on the tiller, and future players may take something away from that. Of course, if Kaoh Rong’s winner turns out be really flashy that could just as easily be forgotten.

      • andythesaint

        I don’t think it’s just Probst tho, or if it is, it’s infected the players through repetition and casting. The players themselves are buying into the idea that they need to do SOMETHING. Or at the very least, they need to be the type of player (i.e., alpha male) who gets the default assumption of authority. But I don’t think you can sit in front of a jury and say that you kept your head down, stayed loyal, didn’t backstab anyone and expect them to notice you.

        In fact, it’s become pretty hard to even get to the jury in those circumstances.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I think it will take a very very good orator to make a final 3 by playing quietly and convince a jury they should vote for them.

          • andythesaint

            Which will be even harder to do now that they’ve eliminated opening statements. So they really have to hope that A) the jurors even bother asking them anything and B) they nail those questions.

          • Kemper Boyd

            have they eliminated or edited out? I suppose it’s a function of having more and more jurors.

          • andythesaint

            Sounds like they’ve been full on eliminated.

          • Diego Armando

            If I were a contestant in the finals, I would attempt to make an opening statement anyway.

          • sharculese

            But didn’t they eliminate opening statements because they found players weren’t saying anything they didn’t get to eventually in the question phase? I think a smart player will always find a way to work in their case, even if it’s by going the Tony route and answering the question you wish they had asked.

          • andythesaint

            Yes, that’s why they did it and I agree. But Tony had the benefit of getting questions to set him up to say what he wanted (it being a final two helped). In a final three, a UTR could just get ignored.

        • sharculese

          Oh no, I’m not laying all of the blame on Probst, but he’s got the biggest platform, and I think by default he ends up driving a lot of it. When you have the de facto mouthpiece of the show insisting that this is what your game has to be about, that affects things.

          And to be clear I’m not talking about the ‘keep your head down and be a loyal number’ type of game. I think that was always a hard way to win. I’m talking more about the Danni Boatwright-esque “I got you guys to not see me as a threat and that was your error” type of game, which I think is still viable, given the right player.

          But more generally we may be moving towards Tony and Mike being the dominant paradigm, but I don’t think we’re all the way there yet, I think they’re still an aberration. Tyson, Cochran, and Jeremy all explicitly relied on strategies where other people took more heat than they did, and Natalie’s game got flashy at the end but still only worked because she so thoroughly made herself look completely harmless.

        • Brenda4evah

          I think you’re both partly right. Tony Vlachos and Natalie White were outliers. Throwing out those extremes, game dominators need to control the game without overplaying their hands (e.g., JT, BvW Tyson), while under-the-radar players need something ostentatious on their resumes, preferably by seizing control of the endgame (e.g., Denise, Natalie Anderson).

    • Other Scott

      This is a bad season to judge, because it was all game players who were determined to reward game players. Under the radar was never going to win this season, and as a result, no one was playing that. But it might be mostly dead?

      I think it’s been replaced with revised under-the-radar strategy that Natalie Anderson pulled off in SJDS and Kelley nearly pulled off here. You stay under the radar for a long time, and then sometime near the end lash out and just own the last part of the game. You get the gameplay credit without being a target for too long a time.

      That said, I have yet to see real evidence that the jury has changed how they vote. People say gameplay, but it’s all about whether they respect you as a person or not, whatever that entails. And that was always the case.

      • sharculese

        I don’t think we can call Kelley under the radar. She had to save herself with idols twice. She was solidly a target fairly on in the merge, but a combination of idols, immunity, and being temporarily useful saved her.

        • Other Scott

          I’m just going by what other players were saying about her in interviews. They didn’t see what we were seeing. For a while, even after the idol play, a lot of them were going, “Kelley, what did she do?” They all thought Ciera was the leader of that side.

          Obviously, end of the game Kelley was a major factor.

          • sharculese

            That’s fair, and Idon’t know how that slipped my mind given the amount of discussion we gave to that precise thing last week.

      • andythesaint

        I think a big part of “respect you as a person” for modern juries is “show me you did something to win”. That thing could have been forming bonds with people that make them want to vote for you, but it can’t be “I didn’t step on any toes”.

        And I agree that you can play under the radar for awhile, but at some point, you need to step the fuck out.

    • Brenda4evah

      Not dead, but feeling unwell, definitely. One part is that modern juries are more tolerant of aggressive gameplay. The other part is that modern aggressive players are careful not to gleefully piss off the jury like Russell Hantz or South Pacific Coach.

      • Brenda4evah

        Sorry, I didn’t get everything in my head onto the screen. This should go after my first sentence above:

        The under-the-radar strategy by definition requires an alpha to be your shield/decoy, who you can either get rid of at the end (Malcolm) or beat at FTC (Russell). The latter’s become harder for two reasons.

    • Diego Armando

      I think it depends on the season and who you are up against. This very aggressive play has worked well, but there is still a beauty in subtlety. I think this super aggressive play may be the new norm, but there will always be deviations from that. That is why I love Survivor; there is no correct way to play it.

    • Violina23

      If Woo hadn’t taken Tony to the end, he would have easily won, and he was pretty “under the radar”.

      I think it’s a completely legit path to victory so long as there are players you can sit with who are LOATHED by the jury. However, as fans, it is ever-so unsatisfying…

      • andythesaint

        I’m not sure Woo was under the radar though. Everyone was calling him a weasel. They knew who he was and what he was about. They just didn’t respect him.

      • andythesaint

        But I do think you’re on to something with how bad the person you’re next to has to be now. They have to be Russell level awful, or Coach-level hypocritical. It’s no longer enough to be against the person who betrayed them as it was for Vecepia or Danni. That didn’t help Woo or Natalie Tenerelli.

        Which means that it’s become REALLY hard to win playing UTR. Because most players know now not to be that awful.

    • sweaterfan

      Slight tangent, but do you think that female players sometimes get the UTR label thrown on them unfairly? I’m specifically wondering about players like Denise (mentioned downthread) or Kelley, who was called a goat this very season possibly for her stealthy strategy, even though she found/played idols, etc. This might be a matter of semantics, but is there (should there be?) a difference between a true UTR game and just having a strong strategy that no one notices?

      • andythesaint

        No, because if people aren’t noticing, you’re under the radar by definition. Fair or not, at some point, people will have to either notice the game you’re playing or really like you.

        • sweaterfan

          Yeah all right, I feel you on that. It still rubs me the wrong way a bit that someone playing as great a game as Denise can still get stuck with the UTR label, but as Jeff would say, perception is reality out there.

          • indescribable hat

            Sometimes it says more about the radar than about the player.

  • sharculese

    So as Andy pointed out, Jeremy is the first man of color to win a non-race wars season, but it’s also noteworthy that this is the first time we’ve seen two people of color in FTC since the race wars seasons.

    • Other Scott

      We’re on a bit of a roll in terms of at least one person of colour in FTC, though. Five seasons in a row now.

    • andythesaint

      The reason I’ve brought this up is more than just trivia. It’s that I think it’s been a legit impairment for minorities to take control of tribes where they are in the minority. It isn’t racism, per se, but more about how Survivors tend to flock to people with shared characteristics (age, gender, region of origin), which makes the minority the “other” in a social game.

      Which is why Yul and Earl’s wins were outliers: they were majority-minority seasons that allowed them to assume the leadership role traditionally reserved for the white guy who most looks the part. Jeremy was able to take that control in a season that largely resisted it. (It should be noted that he was also able to take that role quite easily in SJDS, it just made him a target). So I think it’s great that Survivor was able to find a player like Jeremy to break that barrier and thus will look for others. I also hope that they learn from having a more diverse cast this season that tokenism isn’t going to get it done.

      • sharculese

        Oh, no, I didn’t think you saw it as mere trivia and I agree with everything you just said.

      • Purplerockmatt

        Looking back on it, is Earl a good comp for Jeremy’s win? I actually see a lot of similarities in their strengths and game (though Jeremy also played two idols)

        • andythesaint

          He is. A steady hand leading from the back. A big difference is that Jeremy played from a position of strength throughout, while Earl had to manage the Have Nots situation and win the Edgardo vote.

          • Diego Armando

            They did both play the suave leader roll and always had people who were vote magnets around them. I personally prefer Earl, but Jeremy was a strong winner.

      • Brenda4evah

        I’d still really like to see a person of color win an all-newbie season. Small sample size yada yada, it was an all-star season, and so 1) they didn’t hit the beach on Day 1 a bunch of strangers looking for any reason at all to bond with each other (or not), and 2) they had a shared identity as Survivor veterans (much the way sports teams and the military get barely-adult knuckleheads of all ethnicities and backgrounds to work together by replacing their tribal identities).

        On a related note, I don’t think its any coincidence that one of the few examples of a successful women’s alliance and a dominant female winner happened in a war-of-the-sexes season (One World).

        Its potentially a minefield, of course, but the topic of the burden of “otherness” on Survivor would make for a fantastic off-season examination. It’s not just ethnicity/gender/age, either–can you imagine Sophie making it to the end if she refused to pretend to pray?

        • andythesaint

          I will say that there’s no two people better equipped to tackle this conversation than John and I, the very definition of privileged white males.

          You raise a good point about the all-star thing, but Jeremy had the ability to blend well and lead his first time out as well. And if you’ve ever seen a photo of he and his firefighting buddies in Cambridge, it will come as no surprise that he’s comfortable in an environment where he is a minority.

        • Kemper Boyd

          I agree with you on Kim Spradlin. Kim’s performance was the most dominant performance of any woman in Survivor and the separation of genders was a huge part of why she could do it.

        • Sylvisual

          Are we forgetting Natalie’s win in SJDS? All newbie season, minority winner, no reason to bond with others.

          • Brenda4evah

            Oh right, duh. I forgot BvW2 was all newbies.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I don’t want to see another race wars season but I’d like to see Survivor casting treat every season more like it is a race wars season. Is this the most diverse cast in a season since Fiji?

      • sharculese

        SjdS was 4 out of 18. Cambodia was 4 or 5 out of 20, depending on how Abi identifies herself. And if So Kim and her sister hadn’t been dropped last minute SJdS would have had half the female cast be women of color, so I really do think the show is getting better at this.

        Although SJdS was also the season the show decided John Rocker would be a great addition, so…

        • Kemper Boyd

          Wait is it 7? Tasha, Jeremy, Woo, Peih-Gee, Monica, Abi-Maria, Shirin? (this is working on the Brazillians are LatinX but not hispanic as they speak Portuguese).

          • sharculese

            I completely forgot about Peih-Gee and Monica.

            With Abi I was just unsure because as I understand it Brazil has a lot of racial gradations and shit gets complicated.

          • andythesaint

            I think we can count Abi regardless of race because her cultural background makes her a minority. She’s the only non-American-born member of the cast (I believe).

          • Kemper Boyd

            7/20 is pretty high though.

    • Diego Armando

      Fun fact: both of the African american male winners won unanimously.

  • Violina23

    Forgive me if it’s already been brought up, but do you guys think that Jeff should have better explained the consequence of a deadlock BEFORE they did the first revote? (after the idols were played). I wonder if, had Keith and Kimmi completely understood what was the potential consequence, if Kimmi might have switched her vote to Tasha and avoided having to beg for a place in the game.

    • sharculese

      But Kimmi voted for Tasha. It was her Keith and Kelley. The problem was that the other side was far more solidly together than theirs, so once they targeted Kimmi there was basically nothing she could do.

      As for Keith, sure I guess you could take time to explain the implications of a complicated revote to him, but… do you really think it would help?

      • andythesaint

        I think the problem was that their side had 2 people immune that had no reason to change their vote. The other side was gonna lose a player one way or the other.

        • Diego Armando

          Yeah, the Kimmi, Keith, Kelley side was pretty much screwed. The other side literally could not lose a member.

          • andythesaint

            Unless they chose to. Which they wouldn’t.

          • hornacek

            Yep, a bad time to be a member of Team KKK.

    • Other Scott

      He could have explained it, but the real consequence would have been Keith switching his vote from Tasha to Kimmi to stay in the game. Because the way Keith played it, he left his fate in Kelley’s hands rather than his own. That said, I think it’s better he didn’t. Maybe not more fair, but certainly better for us as viewers which is what Survivor ultimately cares about. The seeming randomness of “by the way, if you can’t unanimously choose someone, Keith goes home” was part of the appeal.

      Kimmi couldn’t have done anything after the first vote because the JST votes all went on her. She had nothing to switch to without breaking the tie.

    • andythesaint

      I was yelling at the TV that they should’ve explained the next tiebreaker more clearly before the vote. But, as pointed out, it was Keith who should’ve flipped.

      Ultimately, I think they just messed up in all the chaos.

      • Purplerockmatt

        I was yelling that on the liveblog. Flip Keith, Flip!

    • gouis

      I didn’t like all those shenanigans. Also thought that they should have forced them to revote. Changing your vote in private is different than doing it verbally in front of everyone.

      • Other Scott

        Yeah, the problem is that it already was kind of a revote. They knew they would still be tied and voted for the tie anyways. They were clearly ready to go to rocks, at least if they knew what the rocks would mean.

        • Violina23

          That’s just it, they didn’t think the whole thing out and it *had* to be damn confusing when it was happening.

          We knew there had just been a 3-3 tie leading up to the idol plays. Another tie was VERY likely given the way the alliances had voted. A heads up from Jeff would have been decent, IMO. It could confuse anybody, not just *spits* Keith. Jeff had to give a friggin’ tutorial! with graphics!

          • sharculese

            I just texted my brother’s girlfriend, who does not watch this shit live, to be like ‘hey when you get to the final 6, if you feel the need to call me to explain what just happened, let me know.’

    • sweaterfan

      #1 Yes, definitely. #2 I write and interpret policy for a living (academic policy, but still…) and my sense is that they never even fathomed that this exact situation could be possible, so they had to fall back on the general rules for a tie even though it royally screwed Keith and was confusing and frankly a bit unfair in its level of convoluted-ness. I wonder if they’ll write in some different rules for a double-vote-negation-and-tie at the final 6 after this, or if they’ll just shrug and leave it since it made for such great TV.

      • indescribable hat

        I had assumed before the episode that they’d go to fire whenever only one person would be vulnerable to rocks, as they do at final four. I’d like that as a new rule.

  • Ethan Kyle

    I take small comfort that Keith’s ponderosa pretty much proves my point that he had a very good chance of winning

    • Saturday Evening Palsy

      Watching that video just makes me think that Keith is a prince. He is one of those guys that you meet at the bar, see him every once in a while, and really enjoy his conversations so you chat with him every time you see him. Then your water heater goes out when you are flat broke and he says “well, hell. Let’s go look at that thing” and he proceeds to fix everything for a beer. Why? Because that’s Keith and that’s what Keiths do. Before the season (and all it’s editing) started, I really did think that he had a good shot at winning this.

      • Diego Armando

        I kind of want more Keith.

    • Barbara Anderson

      Go back and watch the jury reaction to his vote-out. The majority of them are genuinely bummed out.

      • Purplerockmatt

        even better watch the reaction to him offering to leave instead of Kimmi, everyone on the jury is rooting for him to stay there

        • Barbara Anderson

          Yeah. Even Stephen, who is a big Kimmi fan, was saying don’t do it.

        • andythesaint

          I think that was partly because they all recognized that it would’ve been a really shitty way for Keith to go.

  • Dutch

    Thank you and the rest of the Purple Rock Podcast crew for your work in really enhancing the Survivor experience for all of us! Much appreciated!

  • Purple Rock Emma

    Hookers! Great job with this marathon liveblog, buddy. I’m so bummed it took me this long to steal a chance to read it. I missed everyone!

    • Violina23

      Can’t wait to hear about your experience! So jealous!

  • Roswulf

    The enthusiasm, wit and intelligence with which the Purple Rock crew (not just John and Andy, or even Emma, and Mark, and Matt, but all y’all) talked about Survivor on the AV Club was THE key element in my becoming a fan of Survivor back in Cagayan, after more than a dozen years away from the game.

    At the conclusion of this absolutely incredible season of television, I’d like to thank all of you for that. I’m so glad I could watch Survivor Second Chances with all of you.

    • Violina23

      So much fun you guys! My life is too crazy (and exhausting) right now to comment in real-time, so often you guys have all said most of what there is to say before I can contribute, but I have been enjoying all the extra blogging, the podcasts (even if i don’t get to listen until Tuesday), and I ALWAYS read the comments here. You all rock, in the nerdiest way possible (aka the best way possible)

      Sincerely,
      Your two-time guest host from before you were all organized and shit 😉

      • indescribable hat

        Yes! I’ve also been getting here late for real-life reasons but still really enjoying the podcasts, posts, and comments. I would not have such an alarming Survivor obsession without y’all!

    • purplerockpodcast

      Well then you’re going to want to listen to the finale podcast (which we just recorded, and which will hopefully be posted Monday), where we return the favor and thank you all. By name. Because we really do love the community that we’ve built here, and we regularly talk in private about how much we enjoy talking about Survivor with all of you.

      • Barbara Anderson

        Cool! Thank you for giving all of us a “safe place” to express our opinions.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I love having this space, I’m in the UK so watch live occasionally but it’s really late at night. So I watch the next day. I love this community because everyone here is reasonable and can disagree like adults and also because the AV Club just moves too quickly for me to come in on Thursday night and have decent conversations.

  • indescribable hat

    I’m getting here super late, but I have a couple of things to say!

    First the one everyone is saying, Kimmi was great this episode and I have a lot of respect for her game this season and would love to see her play again. She’s matured in the last 15 years (not shocking), but without getting kinda boring like Peih Gee, and she’s a big Survivor fan who has cute Wednesday night traditions with her kids. I take back the things I said about regretting voting for her back when I was upset about T-Bird.

    And now the thing I’m surprised I haven’t heard people saying. Did they (the show) mess up that final six tribal council? I assumed Kimmi and Tasha would make fire for the same reason that’s done at final four. When there’s only one person vulnerable in a rock draw, the rock draw as tie breaker just forces that person to flip and breaks all ties in favor of the side with the immunity challenge winner, which is boring. They got around that here because it was a new situation and the person in question was Keith, but if this happens again, they’ve set a bad precedent. And what was that business of now we’ve trapped you in a tie you have to reach a decision unanimously? Have they done that before and I’ve forgotten? Because it seemed like a bullshit way to make Keith rely on Kelley’s decision when if he’d known the rules they were going to use he should have flipped already. I’m thinking Jeff and production were confused and screwed it up, which we’ve seen them do before. It was still very exciting, but I wanted (and the show has seemed to want in the past) a tie breaker where both sides have a chance.

    • Kemper Boyd

      I thought the unanimously thing smelt like bullshit because they didn’t want to have a 3rd vote when it was clear it was deadlocked at Kimmi and Tasha.
      The only thing I’ll say is that I think if there was a revote on paper between Kimmi and Tasha Keith wouldn’t of flipped because that’s not how he works, he nearly went home instead of Kimmi because she needs the money more. If the “Keith goes home if it’s all tied” thing was explained then Wentworth would have flipped in a vote not Keith.

      • purplerockpodcast

        The unanimous decision is something they’ve always had. It doesn’t always make the final edit of the show, but it has before.

        • Kemper Boyd

          really? huh. You live and learn.

        • indescribable hat

          Do you remember where we’ve seen it? I stand by my opinion that fire making would be a better tie breaker here for the same reasons it’s done at final four, but I’m glad to hear that what we saw was consistent with the rules/what we’ve seen in the past.

          • purplerockpodcast

            The one that jumps to mind is the rock draw in the original Blood vs. Water.