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'Survivor' recap: 'My Word Is My Bond'

Posted on

CBS

Survivor

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
32
run date:
05/31/00
performer:
Jeff Probst
broadcaster:
CBS
genre:
Reality TV

Okay, now we’re just being absurd.

“A reward with all the fixin’s”? That’s the puzzle phrase contestants had to unscramble to win reward? A reward with all the fixin’s? Don’t get me wrong—I positively love it. I just can’t help but marvel at the fact that the word “fixin’s” just played a crucial role on my favorite television show. I haven’t thought this much about fixin’s since I was a poor college kid who used to use and abuse the local Roy Rogers “Fixin’s Bar” to make a salad out of the lettuce, tomato, and whatever the hell else they had for free.

I also love that “a reward with all the fixin’s” has become a Probstism of the highest order, entering the lexicon right next to “Wanna know what you’re playing for?” Literally, “a reward with all the fixin’s,” ladies and gentlemen. What’s next: A slide puzzle featuring a photo of Jeff Probst looking down at his feet while he tells people to “Come on in, guys”? A challenge where Probst says “We’ll draw for spots” and then the entire challenge is…drawing for spots? A memory contest where Probst puts on and removes a series of Survivor baseball caps in different colors and contestants have to remember the exact order? Those would all be ridiculous. And yet I now want to see EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!!!

But as much as we want to laugh at the contestants for taking what seemed like the entire 39 days to come up with the correct answer, the phrase is a bit random, if repeated often. I mean, again, the word “fixin’s” is in it for crying out loud. Just imagine how long we would have been there had Probst not basically given them the answer. “Use your Survivor knowledge. Think about how we talk on Survivor,” he said as they began working on it. Then, after 30 minutes: “Think Survivor. 30 seasons. I say the same 200 words over and over and over. I’m in therapy I say the words so often.” Then, after 45 minutes: “Maybe this is a bit of a blue collar phrase. This is not Harvard. Stop worrying about being graded for your grammar.” Then, after an hour: “What is it you are playing for? What does it come with?” (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—could he spell it out any more?) Then, even more after an hour: “It’s like one of those commercials. And if you order now you get this and this. And this.” (Honestly, I don’t even know what he is talking about here. Are there TV ads for fixin’s?) Then, even more after an hour: “A complete set—everything you need.”

I’m pretty sure that had Carolyn not finally figured it out that Probst was about 30 seconds away from coming over and just completing the damn phrase himself. And then taking himself on reward after making a big show of going back and forth on whether or not to give it over to Rodney.

In a season that has been heavy on unpleasantness, this entire escapade was a welcome humorous aside. But there’s serious business to get to! Not only do we need to recap this penultimate episode of the season, but it is time for my updated Survivor season-by-season rankings. For you newbies out there, I always do this the week before the finale, because the finale/reunion recap is already too long and unwieldy as it is. So, yes, I basically just make this one too long and unwieldy as well. Sorry. But I reserve the right to move a season up or down depending on what happens in the reunion. Where will Worlds Apart fall? Read on for my rankings after the recap to find out. Speaking of which, let’s recap this S.O.B!

We kick things off directly after Tyler’s ouster at Tribal Council. In case you were wondering, Dan is still hell bent on getting rid of Mike. “All Mike gets is one free pass,” says Dan. “That’s all he’s getting. I have zero interest in working with Mike at this point.… To hell with Mike. To hell with his idol.” He’s saying all this, but all I really care about is the fact that he is high-fiving Carolyn because he did not let the fire go out. High-fiving in general is a somewhat suspect activity, but especially when busted out in honor of general camp maintenance. (NOTE: I have never tended a fire in my entire life so I have no idea what I am talking about.)

NEXT: Rodney continues to milk his birthday for all it’s worth…which is nothing[pagebreak]

Speaking of being on fire, reigning endurance queen Carolyn continues to show off her strategic chops by keeping her options open. She cozies up to Mike in case he wins immunity again and tells him they need to get Dan out because of his advantage. It’s a smart backup plan. I know I sound like a broken record, but I really don’t get why Carolyn has not gotten more credit this season. She found an idol with no clue. She has deftly bobbed and weaved into different alliances. She has done great in challenges. I’m not saying she’s the second coming of Tom Westman or anything, but respect is due, ladies and gentlemen.

Alright, let’s head to the reward challenge, which gives me a chance to once again wonder why we have seen so few individual reward contests this season. Just one, I believe. Maybe two. I’m too lazy to go back and look. I asked Jeff Probst about this in our Q&A so you can read his reasoning for it there, but I’ll just say that I tend to prefer as many individual competitions as possible (especially when they lead to tough choices like whom to bring with you and leave behind, although the Rodney birthday entitlement drama has somewhat made up for that).

This challenge involves racing through obstacles and untying knots to release a doorway. Then someone has to use a hatchet to release a rope and puzzle pieces that will then be used to solve the infamous familiar phrase. It is truly a challenge with all the fixin’s…if you will. For the winners (which is to say, Not Rodney) it will be the traditional Survivor chopper ride as well as a surf & turf meal. After going through all the instructions, Probst can’t help but poke the rat in the cage, asking Rodney how he’s been feeling with no reward victories so far. This leads Rodney to once again begin campaigning shamelessly and relentlessly through social media to be cast again on the show for next season. Wait, what? No. Sorry about that. I got confused and was thinking about all that other campaigning going on right now.

Instead, Rodney is once again campaigning for someone to give up their spot should he or she win so he can eat instead. This sort of response is like crack cocaine to the grand inquisitor who stands before him. “So I got to ask,” says Probst, “is it entitlement that you’re feeling that people should give you a reward because you haven’t had one?” KA-BLAMO! Then all of a sudden we’re back on the subject of Rodney’s birthday and oh my God I can’t believe we’re still talking about Rodney’s birthday!!! Also, does Rodney spend half of his year complaining about his birthday that just passed and the other half preparing everyone for his birthday about to come? Are we all just trapped in some sort of wormhole time loop vortex consisting solely of Rodney’s birthday and the word “fixin’s”?

Anyway, Rodney joins Dan and Sierra on the blue team while Mike, Will, and Carolyn comprise the red team. It’s all pretty close until the puzzle, and if I were Jeff Probst I would have just let blue win once Rodney offered up his guess of “A reward that will fix wishin’.” I don’t know what it means, but I kind of love it anyway. As Probst inches closer and closer to just giving the answer away with his ever increasingly easy clues, I could not help but be reminded of the genius fire-making tiebreaker between Becky and Sundra in Cook Islands, when neither could make fire with flint. And then neither could make fire…with matches! Sundra eventually ran out and Becky finally got it after the entire jury had taken a nap. To reiterate for emphasis: Jeff Probst had to give the contestants matches to make fire, and yet one of them still could not do it. GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW!

So naturally the non-Rodney team wins, and then Carolyn does her best impression of Eliza attempting to cast a final Tribal Council vote—hemming and hawing almost to the point of Rodney’s next birthday. She can’t decide whether to give up her spot or not. And then doesn’t. Which is really the worst possible way to handle that situation. You don’t put all that thought into it and then not give it up to the guy. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment. Give the man a quick and painless death. Don’t drag the sucker out like the last 45 minutes—and five fake endings—of Return of the King.

NEXT: Mike creates chaos around camp[pagebreak]

So no surf & turf for Rodney. And no helicopter ride either. But he does get to eat some mystery fruit that Dan found along with a side order of revenge. He says Mike and Carolyn are out next. Ah, but not if they both have immunity. Back to a challenge we go to find out if Mike can save himself yet again. This immunity contest combines two classic stages we’ve seen a million times before as players must use grappling hooks to retrieve three bags, each which contains a ball. They must then use one of those balls to solve a table maze. Why collect three balls when they only need one? I have no earthly idea. Here’s a thought: Why not have each bag have a ball, but two of them are yellow and one is green and after collecting all three they have to find the green ball and use that one? Just spitballing here, but at least it gives each of the three bags a purpose.

Mike takes an early lead as he is the first person to make it to the puzzle table. He is followed by Dan, who informs us that “I suck at life.” (His words, not mine.) He is not followed by Rodney, who keeps throwing his grappling hook directly into the sand for some reason. That’s okay, maybe he can just guilt the winner into giving him the immunity because it was his birthday a couple of days ago. So while Sierra makes a run at the very end—and no, that is not a typo, Sierra actually did not suck in this challenge—Mike indeed ends up winning again for his third individual victory.

So back to camp we go. The majority alliance decides to oust Carolyn, but tells Dan they will all say it is him to throw Mike and Mama C off the scent—because what could possibly be more distracting than the scent of Dan Foley? It is a pungent scent—the scent of manties, if you will. But the plan backfires in a big way. After being told by the group that Dan is the target, Mike decides to shake things up. He runs up to Dan and informs him that, “your alliance is gunning for you.”  Dan doesn’t buy it, and nor should he because he’s not the actual target.

Dan’s confidence gives Mike pause, and when he sees the three men going for a nap in the shelter together on a Tribal day, he redirects on the fly. Now Mike approaches Carolyn and Sierra, showing them the relaxed trio and explaining how “that right there is the Survivor code for ‘I ain’t going nowhere.’” He’s absolutely right. These are the unspoken clues you need to pay attention to while playing. If someone who should be in trouble seems all too comfortable, then you need to assume the worst. And that’s what Carolyn should be assuming. After all, let’s just look at the logic: Why the hell would the group want to keep her (who has done well in challenges) over Dan, who is no threat whatsoever to win? If you’re the person who makes sense to be voted out, assume you are about to be voted out. Unless you are Boston Rob on Redemption Island and everyone is too dumb to get rid of you.

So off to Tribal Council we go. Jeff Probst brings the jury in and…HOLY CRAP, WHAT THE HELL IS SHIRIN WEARING?!? Did she just have her meal interrupted at a Red Lobster or something? Did a production assistant rip off her bib just seconds before she walked onto the set? What a random shirt to wear on national television. (Of course, keep in mind this is coming from a guy who wore an outdoor coat as a guest on Talking Dead because I was too cold on set, so what the hell do I know?)

Making even less sense than Shirin’s fashion choices is Rodney, who starts to answer a question, doesn’t make sense, says it’s because he’s so tired, and then can’t remember what question he is even answering. The dude is either exhausted or that was some sort of psychedelic fruit that Dan shoved down his throat. (And yes, I am just going to skip right over Rodney’s comment about wringing his mother’s neck.) So they finally get to the voting and then Probst tells the group that “I’ll go tally the votes”—which, incidentally will be the subject of the next puzzle challenge, only with the word “fixin’s” added in just for the hell of it.

NEXT: Breaking down our final five[pagebreak]

But stop the presses! Dan wants to make that same baseball analogy that he made before in case it didn’t make the final edit. But it did, so now he just sounds like he’s repeating himself. “I’d rather go down swinging than stand there and watch strike 3 go by.” Dan is finally going to do it and play his second vote advantage. How intriguing! How dramatic! How useless! That’s because no matter which way the vote goes, Dan’s second vote cannot turn the tide. If the vote is for Carolyn, it’s wasted. And if the vote is for Dan, then even a second vote cannot beat all the others headed his way. Like I said useless.

This is actually why I really, really like the double vote advantage—because it is not almighty. It is not an automatic get out jail free card. Under the right circumstances it can really help you and your alliance, but only under the exact right circumstances. Just because it did not prevent one person from going home does not mean it was unsuccessful. On the contrary, I thought it was really cool addition. Well done, producers.

But save the drama for the mama—as in Mama C, because after watching Dan cast his second vote, she then stands up and plays her idol. “I’m not taking a chance, Jeff. I’m not going home tonight.” Dan laughs a nervous laugh, and then if you watch reeeeeeeally closely you can pinpoint the exact moment where it dawns on him what exactly that means—his undoing. (It’s sort of like where Ralph Wiggum’s heart breaks on The Simpsons after being dissed and dismissed by Lisa Simpson on national TV during the Krusty Anniversary Special. I choo-choo-choose you, Ralph.)

And then we are treated to an old skipping phonograph of Jeffrey Probst repeating the same words over and over: “does not count…does not count… does not count…does not count… does not count.” The damage is done, and so is Dan. If this were a movie, you would now be treated to a montage of people from coast to coast waving their arms in joy. People streaming out of their homes in celebration! Strangers kissing and hugging in the streets! Parades! A close up on an old man with a single tear rolling down as cheek as if he has been waiting an entire lifetime to see this magical day come to pass. Two women sharing a subtle yet knowing nod between them as if to say “Yeah, it was a struggle to get here and we may have lost some sisters along the way. There were casualties, and we will never forget the sacrifices they made nor the examples they set. But to finally have this moment, it was almost worth it.” Or, you know, something like that. I don’t know, maybe I watch too many movies.

“It is anybody’s game to win,” Probst tells the remaining players…conveniently choosing not to add the words “…except Will’s.” And here we are with five players left. I know a lot of you out there have been saying there is absolutely nobody to root for this season, but I disagree. Mike has made some moves I definitely do not agree with—throwing the challenge and brain farting at the food auction—but the guy has played hardcore throughout. I can get behind that. Carolyn as well has impressed me. I’m not sure if she’s done a great job making personal connections with the jury, and that may come back to haunt her, but again—she’s played hard and played well and has not acted in an abhorrent way.

Sierra? Seems like a lovely lady. Got nothing against her at all, but she has not demonstrated anything in strategy nor competition to warrant the million dollar check. Will? I’m just going to skip over him entirely. Rodney is trickier. The dude has made moves—you can’t deny it. But he also has acted like a knucklehead, lost his temper multiple times at camp, and done zilch in challenges. You can’t feel good about him winning either. So yes, a Will-Rodney-Sierra final three would be a nightmare of epic proportions. But if Mike or Carolyn can sneak in there, well, now we’ve got something.

But how much would a Mike or Carolyn victory save the season? It’s worth considering as we head into our updated Survivor season by season rankings, listing them from first to worst. Where will Worlds Apart fall? Read on to find out…

NEXT: The updated Survivor season rankings![pagebreak]

SURVIVOR SEASON RANKINGS

1. (Tie) Survivor: Borneo

(Winner: Richard Hatch)

and Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites

(Winner: Parvati Shallow)

I’ve gone back and forth with these two over the years. After Micronesia aired, I named it the best Survivor season ever. Upon reflection, while I still considered it the most enjoyable, I also worried I was understating the impact of the first season, which became a national phenomenon. (Yes, Borneo now seems dated and tame by comparison, but it’s the biggest game changer in the past 20 years of television.) So then I returned that to the #1 spot. If I wanted to watch one season again, it would be Micronesia. If you ask me which is the most important season, well, obviously it’s Borneo. So instead of constantly flipping them, they can simply share the top spot… until I change my mind again.

3. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

(Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)

The Russell vs. Boston Rob feud made for the best pre-merge run of episodes ever. And the greatness just kept on coming. Filled with huge memorable moments like Tyson voting himself off, J.T. giving Russell his immunity idol, and Parvati handing out two immunity idols at one Tribal Council. Loses a few points for having so many three-timers, though, including a few (Amanda, James) we simply didn’t need to see again. I know many people would consider this #1, but it’s all returnees. For me, the fresh blood of Micronesia keeps that season higher.

4. Survivor: Cagayan

(Winner: Tony Vlachos)

Quite simply, the best Survivor season ever with all new players since the very first one (which is only better by the fact that it was the very first one). It was an intoxicating mix of terrific and terrible gameplay in which the big personalities (Tony, Spencer, Kass) weren’t just personalities—they actually were there to play the game. (Maybe not well at all times, but at least they were playing.) The casting was killer, the challenges were solid, the boot order was completely unpredictable, and the creative twists worked (although I was not a fan of the return of the post-votes read idol; thankfully that never came into play). The fact that Woo inexplicably brought Tony to the end with him added one last great “WHAT THE HELL?!?” moment to a truly intoxicating season.

5. Survivor: Amazon

(Winner: Jenna Morasca)

Probably the most unpredictable season ever from week to week. Some people hate on Jenna as a winner, but she won challenges and played an effective social game.

6. Survivor: Pearl Islands

(Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)

Rupert stealing shoes. Fairplay getting drunk at Tribal Council. Osten sucking at everything. It was all delicious. Loses points, though, for the awful Outcasts twist, which also led to a disappointing final two (Lil? Seriously?)

7. Survivor: Palau

(Winner: Tom Westman)

I loved watching one tribe decimate the other, culminating with Stephenie becoming a tribe of one. And the challenges may have been Survivor’s best ever. What’s interesting about Palau is that we basically all knew Tom would win from episode 1, but it was still gripping nonetheless.

8. Survivor: Blood vs. Water

(Winner: Tyson Apostol)

The returning contestants playing with/against their loved ones twist added new dimensions and forced players—and us—to think about the strategic elements of the game in an entirely new way. And for strategy nerds like myself, it was like opening a brand new Christmas present each and every week as new layers were revealed. And although I am certainly no fan of the Redemption Island twist due to the fact that it neuters the show’s most dramatic moment (the vote-off), it is undeniable that the RI element is what led to many of the intriguing strategic decisions of whom to vote out and why. (However, I still can’t figure out why they went with three person duels—a.k.a. truels—and they definitely should have stopped RI at the merge.) Yes, the challenges were a letdown and there was a bit of a lull just after the merge, but all in all, this was a super solid season from top to bottom and a nice change of pace.

9. Survivor: Philippines

(Winner: Denise Stapley)

This season was all about one thing: casting, casting, casting. When you look back on what happened, while there were a lot of shake-ups with the voting, there weren’t a whole lot of jaw-on-the-floor shocking moments. So why is it so high? Because the casting and story lines that developed gave us people to root for and against—something every great Survivor season needs. And the fact that Philippines had such a strong final four—Denise, Malcolm, Lisa, Skupin—also doesn’t hurt.

NEXT: The season rankings continue (10-19)[pagebreak]​

10. Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites

(Winner: John Cochran)

A tale of two seasons this was, and I can already hear people yelling that I am putting it too high. But hear me out first before you Russell any feathers. If I was grading this solely on pre-merge episodes, this would be waaaay down the list due to the emphasis on big personalities (Shamar, Brandon, Phillip) as opposed to big gameplay. It was flat-out grating. But everything post-merge was spectacular. I can’t remember a time when there were so many moves and countermoves so late in the season. The same way it is more important for a sports team to play well in the second half of a game as opposed to the first, a great season needs to build momentum, and Caramoan definitely did that with six fantastic episodes in a row. It’s much more important to finish strong than to start strong, so I definitely put more weight and emphasis on post-merge episodes when doing the rankings, and this season made a remarkable comeback and slipped into the top 10. Also, don’t overlook how great the bevy of water challenges was. Should I push it down in the rankings due to the lackluster Reunion show that followed? Perhaps. Kind of not sure how much I should take that live show into consideration when ranking what happened out on the island.

11. Survivor: Samoa

(Winner: Natalie White)

I like this season a lot more than most people, but Russell’s controlling of the game (especially post-merge when his side was down 8-4) was truly a work of art. Evil genius art. He was robbed in the end, though, in the most controversial jury decision ever.

12. Survivor: Marquesas

(Winner: Vecepia Towery)

An underrated season that saw the first totem pole shake-up: where people on the bottom got together to overthrow those on the top. Yes, it was a weak final two, but it also had a woman peeing on a guy’s hand. Plus: Purple rock!!!

13. Survivor: China

(Winner: Todd Herzog)

After constantly threatening to move this ranking up, I finally did a year ago. I’ve always loved this season. It featured a really good cast stuck in a really bad location. Todd completely owned that final Tribal Council. That’s how you win a million dollars.

14. Survivor: Cook Islands

(Winner: Yul Kwon)

What a difference a mutiny makes. It was listless until that fateful moment when Candice and Penner stepped off the mat. Then we finally had underdogs to root for. The Tribal Council fire-making tiebreaker between Sundra and Becky may be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Plus, just look at all the great first-time contestants (Parvati, Penner, Ozzy, Yul). Mutineers must die!

15. Survivor: Australian Outback

(Winner: Tina Wesson)

An overrated season in my book. Probst loves it. I didn’t. Solid but unspectacular. Pretty predictable boot order as well. Dude did burn his hands off, though.

16. Survivor: South Pacific

(Winner: Sophie Clarke)

Here’s another one that I like more than most people, which is curious considering how much it has in common with the season that aired directly before it, which I didn’t like: the same twist of two returning players, Redemption Island, the predictable vote-offs, no real water challenges, etc… But there is one thing I really did dig about this season, and that is the cast. I was invested in the players and their fates—the ones I wanted to do well, and not so well. Plus, this season gave us three signature moments: Ozzy volunteering to go to Redemption, Cochran flipping, and Brandon giving away his immunity.

17. Survivor: Tocantins

(Winner: J.T. Thomas)

Okay, you may roll your eyes at Coach 1.0. But imagine for a second this season without him. Bo-ring! His unintentional comedy single-handedly lifted this into the middle of the pack. Seriously, other than Tyson getting blindsided, were there any memorable moments that didn’t involve the Steven Seagal wannabe?

18. Survivor: All-Stars

(Winner: Amber Brkich)

Overall, a bit of a letdown, but man, were there some hate-fueled fireworks at those final few Tribal Councils. Plus: Best. Reunion Show. Ever. (Remember Jerri getting literally booed off the stage?)

19. Survivor: Panama — Exile Island

(Winner: Aras Baskauskas)

Ah, just writing the word Panama gets me daydreaming about Survivor Sally and her intoxicating knee socks. Terry was robbed on a final challenge that may or may not have been completely fair. Another unmemorable final two. Shane Powers should have been brought back for Heroes vs. Villains. Hopefully that error in judgment is rectified for the Second Chance season.

NEXT: Completing the season rankings (and placing Worlds Apart)[pagebreak]​

20. Survivor: Worlds Apart

(Winner: ???)

Here she is. We know the problems and have outlined them all season long—not enough people to root for. Worlds Apart got somewhat hijacked by an assault of offensive comments to and about women by some of the male characters. It’s too bad because there has actually been some interesting gameplay—mostly thanks to Mike. We’ve had some big moments at the last few Tribal Councils as well. That elevates my ranking over where most of you told me on Twitter you would place it—which was around 33rd place…out of 30 seasons. The truth is, this season has moved around a bunch for me. It started off middle-of-the-pack, went WAY down during all that Dan and Will ugliness, but has crept back up a bit since then. And it could keep moving, because, as always, this could go up or down a few slots depending on what happens in the finale. If Mike or Carolyn wins, it probably leapfrogs Panama. Anyone else, we could see a slide.

21. Survivor: Gabon

(Winner: Bob Crowley)

It got better near the end, but it was still a case of too little, too late. The fact that so many unworthy players went so far is simply too damning.

22. Survivor: Redemption Island

(Winner: Boston Rob Mariano)

The first three episodes were dynamite, but then the fuse blew out. It certainly was entertaining at times watching Rob strategize (the most dominant showing ever) and Phillip philosophize (the craziest showing ever), just not very dramatic. Most of the vote-offs were clearly telegraphed and the Redemption Island twist sucked the life out of Survivor’s signature moment—the vote-off.

23. Survivor: Africa

(Winner: Ethan Zohn)

Some great challenges. Not that much else was great.

24. Survivor: Guatemala

(Winner: Danni Boatwright)

One of the more unlikable casts so far. (Remember Judd? Jamie? Stephenie’s evil twin?) Rafe was good for a few laughs, though. Especially on rope obstacles.

25. Survivor: Vanuatu

(Winner: Chris Daugherty)

I don’t blame producers: The battle of the sexes worked well the first time around.

26. Survivor: San Juan del Sur

(Winner: Natalie Anderson)

The cast was for the most part boring if not boorish, and when we look back on this season a few years down the line, will any one big moment even stand out? Anything? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? I will say there were a few strong post-merge episodes, and it definitely got better over the last few weeks thanks to Natalie’s strong play. That counts for something. This is not a season that inspires anger or rage, just apathy, which is maybe the worst indictment of all.

27. Survivor: One World

(Winner: Kim Spradlin)

Look, I have total respect for Kim’s game. Like Tom in Palau and Rob in Redemption Island, she excelled strategically, socially, and physically. Unfortunately, that is really the only good thing I can say about this season. And that’s too bad, because I do think the “One World” concept was a solid one. But, man, what a thoroughly uninspiring cast. Colton was more a horrible human being than a classic villain, and the rest of the players were mostly either completely forgettable or people you wish you could forget. I worry I am being generous by putting it even this high, but out of respect for Kim, it goes here.

28. Survivor: Thailand

(Winner: Brian Heidik)

The fake merge and brutal last challenge—where the final three had to hold coins between their fingers in a crazy painful pose—keep this dud out of the bottom spot. Barely.

29. Survivor: Fiji

(Winner: Earl Cole)

With the exception of Yau-Man and Earl, a true bummer of a cast, and the “Haves Vs. Have-Nots” twist was one of the worst creative decisions in Survivor history. Speaking of awful creative decisions…

30. Survivor: Nicaragua

(Winner: Jud “Fabio” Birza)

It’s at the bottom for a few reasons. 1) Splitting the tribes up by age and the Medallion of Power were both enormous flops. 2.) Like One World, Thailand, and Fiji, Nicaragua had just too many unlikable players. 3) Two people quitting with only 11 days left. 4) No big memorable moments. Even Thailand had the fake merge and Fiji had the big Yau-Man/Dreamz free car deal gone bad, but what was Nicaragua’s signature moment? Unfortunately, it was people quitting, and that was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Okay, there we have it. I’m sure everyone has their own rankings and I encourage you to share them in the message boards below. That’s what I love about this show—the variety of passionate opinions. But that’s not all. Also make sure to read my weekly Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst and enjoy an exclusive deleted scene in the video player below. I’ll also have our exit interview with Dan (which is now up and is a doozy) up on Thursday afternoon, and for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Okay, have at it on the message boards with your Survivor season rankings and thoughts on the latest episode. I’ll be back next week with your Survivor finale/reunion recap…WITH ALL THE FIXIN’S!  

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