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December 19, 2018 at 11:05 PM EST

Don’t worry, I’m going to talk about our newest Survivor champion. I’m also going to go into the sartorial choices of jury member Davie Rickenbacker. And, at some point, you know I’ll inevitably launch into a recycled rant about the final four fire-making nonsense. But hey, real quick: Did you all know Angelina gave up her spot in an individual immunity competition so her tribe could have rice? It’s true! She told me… ONLY ABOUT THIRTY BILLION TIMES!

Angelina was the real winner of Survivor: David vs Goliath. Now, true, what she won may not have been the million dollars, but rather the award for Most Tone-Deaf Constant Reminder of Allegedly Selfless Act That Makes it Not Remotely Selfless in the Least, but at least she won something. After what I still maintain was a botched negotiation, Angelina couldn’t help herself and then insisted on mentioning it to her tribe. She then mentioned it to her mom when she visited for the Loved Ones. She mentioned it to Davie when he was picking people for reward. She mentioned it to the others not selected to go on the reward. She mentioned it to the jury. Hell, I’m pretty sure she mentioned it to the Fiji Air pilot that flew her home as well as every damn passenger on that plane. THIS WOMAN WANTS YOU TO KNOW HOW SELFLESS SHE IS!

Oh, I kid because I love. You know I have been calling Angelina reality television gold all season long and Jeff Probst even agreed with me, dubbing her the one player he would most like to bring back to play again (yes, even above Christian!). That’s high praise, indeed. Almost as high praise as me starting my finale recap by talking about her rather than the actual winner, Nick Wilson.

Ah, Nick. Here’s the craziest thing about Nick winning: If Pat does not get injured on his boat ride back from the challenge on day 3, Nick is probably the first person out of this game. Think about that for a second. If not for a fluky off-camera, out-of-game accident, then Nick Wilson is relegated to a footnote in the Survivor annals as the latest recipient of the Sonja Christopher Golden Ukulele Award as the season’s first boot. Instead, he enters the most prestigious of clubs as a Sole Survivor. And he ends up a million dollars richer (at least before taxes) because of it. That blows my mind and once again shows how fine a line it is between failure and success in this game. From worst to first, due to one bad wave. Amazing.

Did Nick deserve the win? (He beat Mike and Angelina by a vote of 7-3-0.) Sure! Yes, you can point to the fact that he was left out of the loop on a few crucial votes like Carl and Davie, but Mike and Angelina were certainly outplayed on a few early votes as well. And Nick and Carl had arguably the play of the season when they went all Zan and Jayna Wonder Twins style to combine their awesome powers and send the hot cop home. Plus, he finished the season in style, pulling a Chrissy Hofbeck and sweeping the last three immunity challenges (not that it did her any good).

I would not have hated on a Mike victory since Mike often did a great job of shifting votes to the way he wanted them to go. Of course, you all know I am like some sort of creepy cyber stalker when it comes to Angelina and would probably marry her if we weren’t both already married and would have to worry about Jeremy blabbing about us to the press. So an Angelina win would have thrilled me. But Nick seems like the right call. He also (from what we saw) did the best job fielding questions and comments at that final Tribal Council, so if minds were really undecided (as Elizabeth claimed) then Nick probably deserved those stray votes with his superior performance there as well.

As for the finale itself, it kind of mirrored the season as a whole. There were no massive crazy twists (like the tie-vote last season, the introduction of the fire-making tiebreaker the season before that, or Cirie getting Ciried with five immunities the season before that), but it didn’t need them. We could just focus on what made this season great: the characters and the editing. (By the way, gold star to producers for the montage of people idol hunting, which was well executed without tipping off who would find the clue.)

And as for the final Tribal, while you all know there is nothing that bothers me more than an acute case of BJS (Bitter Jury Syndrome) when it comes to voting, I do like a few fireworks from the jury —  because I am a reality television viewer and reality television viewers crave the drama. So if I were going to nitpick (and we all know nitpicking is what I do best) then I would say that a bit more confrontation between jury and finalists would have been nice. Or at least some more challenging questions. Make them work for the money! But I suppose the somewhat tame final act is the price we pay for having such a decent, likable group. DAMMIT, WHY CAN’T I HAVE IT BOTH WAYS?! Where are the absolute monsters in the cast when you need them? Can we get someone from One World on the phone, please?

And as we have seen so often on this show lately (with Jeremy talking about his pregnant wife back home in Cambodia, Adam revealing about his dying mother in Millennials vs.. Gen X, Ben sharing his story of courageously overcoming PTSD in Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, etc…) the person with the personal story outside of the game has been able to use it to help secure the million-dollar check. Nick brought up the fact that his mother died from a drug overdose, and that couldn’t help but pull on the sympathetic heartstrings of the jurors.

I’m not calling Nick out for using his personal pain for financial gain. On the contrary, you use whatever you can to get those votes, so Nick would be remiss in not bringing it up. Nick also was very smart and savvy in the way he worked it in, talking about how it was her death that led him on his career path to help others in need — giving the tragedy context in terms of his larger (also heartstring-pulling) narrative of personal growth. So anyway, yeah… Nick. He won! Congrats! Let’s go through the whole shebang now starting from the very top.

(Recap continues on next page…)

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