Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets. Finale Recap and Season Wrap Up.


It’s finally here, the Survivor South Africa finale! Nico is in studio with the clean Survivors. Always slightly less hot all clean and chubbier.
It’s been a bloody long season, boring at times, weird at others. Tanya was a delight, as was Seipei and now let’s see if Rob can culminate a post-merge of domination with a victory, if Nicole can somehow win over a jury who seems to hate her, if Durao can survive a day 39 breakfast without half of it on his face or if Laetitia can stay alive long enough to win.


  • Laetitia rips Nicole a new one. She is right, Nicole likes to moralise, she likes to pretend she is right and then she falsely apologises. Last episode Rob said he trusted her completely, now he can’t trust anyone but himself.
  • We get a wildly insane Nicole confessional about Tribal going off flawlessly and then she is shown saying the good guys won and calling Durao one of the 3 Amigos. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Survivor shown to buy her own bullshit more than Nicole. I wish we could get a confessional where she tells us, the viewers, that it’s all nonsense she is using to get to the end.
  • Laetitia is completely right when she says you can’t talk about integrity and trust and then do what Nicole did and continue saying it. You need to own your villianry or at least your gameplay.
  • Final 4 Immunity Challenge is the Cirie/Malcolm memorial balancing challenge. If you would like to discuss with me in the comments how it didn’t matter in Micronesia Cirie couldn’t win, I will lay it out for you.
  • The setting for this challenge is beautiful, sunny, with huge waves crashing behind them. Nico confirms it will be a Final 3 and this is the last immunity. Which makes the vote nulifier even more shitty thing to give to Final 4.
  • Rob wins yet another immunity.
  • Nicole thinks it’s her and Rob choosing who to vote for.
  • Laetitia goes to Rob and tries to sell him on going for Nicole. I like this from Laetitia because ultimately she get rid of a vote. She just needs 1 other person to vote with her and she is in the Final 3. But Rob thinks Laetitia is the danger.
  • Tribal Council is a banger. We start off with Nicole spewing nonsense again and Steffi in the jury is not having it, she has a very audible reaction to Nicole’s speech about her values. Nicole does not believe in woman empowerment at the expense of men., especially not ones who want her to win Survivor. Laetitia smacks her down, the jury all nods when Laetitia says Nicole plays everyone.
  • Honestly why Laetitia isn’t gunning for Durao because Nicole sucks and the Jury hates her, keep her around.
  • In the end Laetitia doesn’t play her vote nulifier and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as she is voted out 3-1.
  • Durao, Nicole and Rob are the Final 3. If Durao wins this by not being smart or good but nice I will laugh.
  • Final Tribal Council: Laetitia looks amazing. Lovely dress, classy make up. She’s elegant.
  • Jacques: tells Durao he has a 0% chance of winning the game. He says Nicole and Rob are a dragon with 2 heads, he wants them to take responsibility for their moves and explain to them why they should be voted for.
  • Mike and his terrible new hair: he asks Durao why he had intense commitment to Rob, Durao answers that Rob protected him and made him feel safe. He asks Nicole if she used her emotional distress (I think from her divorce) to her advantage, she doesn’t answer, rather lays out her 3 rules of engagement: 1st find an alliance and stay true to it. 2nd: love hard. be vulnerable in relationships, she says her conversations with people were real. 3rd: lie hard. She lays out many of her lies.
  • Seipei comes out in a banging goth coat and tells Rob the seat looks good on him: she asks him how he ended up sitting there. Rob says he found a family in Sa’ula. He says the reason he sent Seipei home because she planned to remove Nicole and Steffi. He wanted to get the original alliance to the end. Seipei comes back and points out he had a choice to take the original alliance to the end but she and Steffi are sitting on the jury.
  • Geoff: starts off by addressing Nicole about her talking about playing with honesty and integrity. He says she has a victim complex. He reminds her that he promised her he would never write her name down and today he will honour that promise. Brutal.
  • Dante: something something Dante was very good at Survivor and needed to be removed. Rob tells Dante his social game was bad.
  • Mbaba: decides to speak on Durao’s behalf. She says Rob flipped on almost everyone in the game. Durao played a great individual game. Why should Rob win over Durao who played a fool? Rob answers that you don’t elevate yourself by pushing other people down and urges Mbaba to vote for Durao.
  • Cobus: is bases his vote on whether if he likes someone as a person and if he respects their game play. He likes Nicole but he respects Rob’s game. He asks Nicole to bring his scale back up to liking her. Nicole says Cobus knows who she is as a person, her closeness was real. She just had to vote them out because she was loyal to Rob
  • Laetitia: Ask simply for Rob and Nicole to tell her what they did better than each other. Rob says he won more challenges. Nicole says she had to fight harder than Rob, because she didn’t have immunity. She says she is a mother and she is middle aged. (Bitch you are 34, I’m 33 and I am certainly not middle aged). She says she had to play a devious shield strategy.
  • Meryl: She tells Nicole their bond was mom to mom.  She says leaving her family was not brave and that she feels sorry for Nicole as a woman and as a mother. That was deeply cruel and I didn’t enjoy it.
  • Steffi: She rips into them about the fact the Amigos was supposed to be about love. That she went to Nicole about an all women’s alliance. She is angry that Rob never asked her about why he never came to her about the all women’s alliance. Steffi then rips into Nicole about her integrity as a sole survivor. Steffi tells Rob that Nicole would never have stuck with him if he didn’t have the numbers. She then asks Rob when it went wrong. Rob tells her he noticed on the family visit Steffi didn’t react surprised to see Gina, wasn’t desperate to speak with her, he realised she lied to him about seeing her. Steffi then apologised to Nicole for getting heated and addressing her in such a way.
  • Durao’s final statement: He thought he would be a physical threat but he was wrong. He then used his natural charm and charisma to make people like him. He had to lie to people to get ahead. People may not take his game seriously. He is comfortable knowing he won’t be a winner, he is playing against champions.
  • Rob’s final statement: He felt he embodied what he felt a Sole Survivor should be. Outwit: he created his own advantage at the Island of Secrets and used it against Mike to stop a blindside. He controlled the Island of Secrets to control the game. He was the information hub, he knew everything. Outplay, he won 5 immunities. Outlast, he is still there with 2 people he chose to be there.
  • Nicole’s final statement: She starts by thanking all the players, because she doesn’t believe she achieve anything alone. She felt she fought harder, she was never going to focus on outplay, she focused on outwit. All the drama came from outwit, she says she had a part in everyone’s departure. She knew the one alliance she would hold onto with Rob would get her to the end. To be able to sit with Rob at the end for her speaks volumes. Nicole says she was the web and connection that brought Rob the information. She says she was whispering suggestions, she was in on every decision with Rob quietly helping him.
  • Back in the studio Nico counts the votes: Rob, Bobby, Rob, Nicole, Nicole, Nicole, Rob, Nicole, Rob, Rob. Rob wins Surivor SA.

Season Wrap Up:

This season really dipped from last season. It was fun in parts, some of the casting was good but not nearly on a par with last season. There is something to be said for the whole season arc of Sa’Ula sucking so hard and then Rob coming back to win. He played an amazing game, but it was frustrating and boring to watch one player after another wait for the perfect time to blindside him only to see the time pass and their torch snuffed. There were some big high points. Tanya’s existence. Seipei’s pre-merge game. Jacques missplaying his idol and losing Ting Ting. But their were some lows, Nicole’s moralising, Steffi being a wild hypocrit and the whole motherfucker incident. This was below replacement level Survivor for me. Honestly I’d rather watch World’s Apart and see Kim do this way better because at least I liked Chelsea and Sabrina and knew I was allowed to hate Alicia and Colton.

Assistant Dragon Slayer:

Ugh, this season. What a letdown from Season 6, which for my money was one of the most wildly entertaining Survivor seasons of them all. Rob is clearly a worthy winner and in the conversation with Kim for the title of most dominant first-timer ever, undercut a fair amount by the fact that Kim wasn’t surrounded by human Vote Doublers in the post-merge (case in point: Laetitia had no way to use her vote nullifier and nobody to even pretend to consider letting her make fire).

I think there’s another season besides One World that’s comparable to Island of Secrets, and that’s Ghost Island. Not only was the IoS twist basically Ghost Island (with no artifacts or games of chance, so it was actually a downgrade from GI), but both seasons were severely hampered by a bad boot order. In both seasons, the most interesting players (strategically and as characters) went home too early, rendering the post-merge mostly inert. Also, we were one Nicole vote away from a tie (and Durao would have been the tie-breaker this season deserved).

I didn’t watch the reunion show and I don’t think KB watched it either, so if anything of note happened please tell us in the comments. Lastly, thanks to everybody for seeing through to the end a season that was frankly a chore to get through at times (although as always, I’ll note that even a bad Survivor season is still B–/C+ TV).