The finale comes down to a (long) battle of fire.

Credit: Screen Grab/CBS
S30 E14

A lot of incredible things happened on Wednesday’s Survivor finale. Mike won all three challenges, bringing his challenge-winning total to 17,348. Carolyn pulled some sort of Jedi mind trick to convince Mike to take her to the end. We had a fire-making tiebreaker that came close to matching the ineptitude of the Becky vs. Sundra duel—and I use that word “duel” loosely—that took place on Cook Islands.

But the most incredible thing BY FAR that went down has to be this: Rodney voted for Will to win Survivor: Worlds Apart. Not only did Rodney vote for Will to win Survivor: Worlds Apart, but he voted for him based on the fact that—and I’m quoting here—Will “kept it real.” I know this because Rodney’s comments while voting for the #DeadFish to take home the million dollars were “I kept it real in this game. You kept it real in this game.”

Lest anyone think Will’s qualifications for “keeping it real” were not quite up to snuff, Rodney used his one precious question to the finalist to ask Will the following incisive and probing query: “How did you keep it real?” HOW DID YOU KEEP IT REAL?!?! THAT WAS HIS QUESTION!!! Apparently, Will’s dissertation on the art of keeping it real must has satisfied Rodney’s ever-so-high standards because he then awarded him his vote—the most inexplicable vote since Ralph Malph voted for Phillip Sheppard to win Redemption Island—proclaiming that his No Collar friend did, in fact, keep it real…and thank God for that.

So, to be clear, Rodney did not vote for the winner based on strategy. Nor did he base it on performance in challenges. Rather, he chose to judge the finalists based on their own personal keepin’-it-realness, which evidently can be measured by some sort of mixture of je ne sais quoi and the ability to do nothing whatsoever for 39 days. Some people just have it: Natalie from Redemption Island, Cassandra from Fiji, Mik from Samoa, Clay from Thailand—they all had it. And Rodney probably would have voted for them as well.

Unfortunately for Rodney, he did not have a quadruple final Tribal Council vote advantage, so Will would not be taking home the million dollar prize. It came down as it always should—to Mike and Carolyn, the howler monkey and the sting ray. Each could present a strong argument as to why they were the most worthy, but Mike had one crucial advantage: Once the majority alliance in the game turned on him, that put him with the group who would eventually form the majority of the jury: Shirin, Jenn, Hali, and Joe. True, Hali and Joe were already out by then, but we all know that strong lobbying goes on among the eliminated contestants, and there’s no way Mike forming strong bonds with their best buds could not have a spillover effect.

While Mike erred greatly with his food auction ruse, at least he was able to form some strong personal connections, while Mama C (nickname not withstanding) came off as a bit cold. He also won a billion challenges. Honestly, I would have been happy with either one winning. I do think Carolyn probably played a savvier game, but Mike played with his foot on the gas from day 1, and as a viewer, you love to see that. There were missteps along the way—I still hate anyone throwing a challenge and he completely lost his mind with the advantage and love one letters fiasco—but when you add everything up together, he probably would have received my million-dollar vote as well. I say probably not as a knock on Mike, but a sign of respect for the constantly underappreciated Carolyn. They both had a lot of game—Mike just had a little bit more. (Cue the Happy Dance.)

So we have our winner. But of course there is so much more to break down: Loved ones! Tiebreakers! Dan putting Jeff Probst’s public Service Announcement on Tribal Council voting into action and doing his best Eliza Orlins impersonation while casting his final ballot! The Will-Shirin reunion! The new Survivor cast! Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it, so let’s recap tonight’s Survivor season finale and reunion.

NEXT: Enter the loved ones!

The episode begins with Jeffrey Probst waxing eloquent about how awesome each of the final five is, although some of Probst’s words are more convincing than others. For instance, we learn that Carolyn “found an immunity idol, won multiple challenges, and has managed to put together blindside after blindside,” and Mike “found an immunity idol and went on an epic winning streak when he needed it most.” Compare that to Sierra, of whom we are told “hasn’t offended anyone of the jury,” and Will, who is “not afraid to break the rules.” Wow! What glowing résumés! As for Rodney, he informs us that “I came in here with my mind and I dominated socially” proving Rodney and I have different definitions of the word “dominated.”

After that intro we return to night 35, right after Carolyn played her idol and sent Dan packing…although she can’t figure out who else voted for Dan and oddly nobody from her previous alliance attempts to take credit for the move. The foursome walk off together, leaving Mike by himself to work on his Rodney impersonation, which is not nearly as strong as Rodney’s version of Mike. If there is one thing Rodney has dominated, it is the impression game. I would say the dude is the Rich Little of the island, but I’m relatively confident he has no idea who Rich Little is.

And then comes maybe my favorite quote of the entire season as Rodney hits Carolyn with “Why didn’t you let us know you had the idol? That was a mistrust to all of us.” This is insanely amazing. This entire alliance just tried to vote Carolyn out and now Rodney is upset that she didn’t tell them she had an idol to save herself. I am in love with the logic here. I want to take the logic and French-kiss it until it is all wet and sloppy and has a stray strand of saliva dangling off to the side. And then take my finger to wipe up that strand of saliva and put it back in my own mouth and…. Okay, sorry, it’s getting a bit creepy now… The point is, I am fascinated by the fact that Rodney says Carolyn should have trusted them by telling them about the idol when just moments prior they lied to her face and tried to get her out of the game…and would have had she not kept the idol a secret and used it against them. Rodney dominating once again.

Off to the reward challenge we go where the final five learn they must race under a crawl net and then slide tiles through a hole to hit a pan. Once all the tiles are through they must balance them on a machete to transport over a series of obstacles to the finishing table where they must sort them into matching pairs. Three tiles will not match up and they contain the combination that will unlock the box to win someone reward. And that reward comes in the form of human flesh!!! Ewww. It’s loved ones I’m talking about! Look, there’s Carolyn’s husband rocking a super-sweet mustache! There’s Mike picking up his mother like a professional wrestler about to pile drive an opponent into submission! There’s Will’s wife mumbling something I can’t understand because she’s crying too much!

You guys know I have a heart of stone, but I actually dig the loved ones visit for a few reasons. For one thing it leads to Jeff Probst saying really awkward things like “Mike, you ready for a little love?” and “Sierra, I know you’re ready for some love”—both of which sound super-creepy when taken out of context. Sometimes you also get crazy characters like Malcolm’s brother, although that didn’t really happen here. But you can also get an unexpectedly nice moment, like what we saw from Rodney when his dad came out. The interaction began with a lot of manly back slapping between the two, but became something much more when junior told senior through tears that, “I’m finally at peace with Natalie now, brother. I look up at the sky and I am finally at peace. Two years of nightmares and all that heartbreak, it honestly has changed me. And I read this tattoo every day and she’s the one who gives me strength.”

Look, I’ve been hard on Rodney from time to time this season, but if this entire experience has indeed given him peace when it comes to the death of his sister, then that is the biggest win for any player in Survivor history. I’m really happy for the guy. Doesn’t mean I won’t take him to task for stuff that happens in the game, but still—I think that’s awesome.

NEXT: The problem with challenge advantages

So the reward is the winner gets to bring their loved one back to camp for the night and they get an advantage in the next immunity challenge. I’ve gone on record before as not being a fan of the immunity advantage. I realize you could just look at it as a two stage challenge with stage one giving you help in stage two, but all too often that help drains any and all drama out of the immunity competition because the advantage is so great. So it’s not just a fairness issue, it’s an issue of staging compelling television. And while we’ll get to this more later, the advantage at stake is indeed WAAAAAAAY too big.

Also, while I’m complaining about things, why not have a challenge in which the loved ones can play? That too tends to create unintentional hilarity, like when Colby kept berating his brother in Heroes vs. Villains. “C’MON, REED!!!” But alas this time the visitors are just spectators as the contestants begin and… Wait, what the hell?!? Will is in the lead? What is happening?!? “Will is out of the gate first and that is a first,” confirms play-by-play man Probst. It doesn’t last. Will fades and falls repeatedly as Mike wins it. And then a very odd thing happens: Probst tells the other loved ones to leave. This is weird. No hard choice for Mike in getting to grant one or two fellow castmates some time with their loved ones, and thereby having to deny others time with their special someone? That’s legitimately shocking. It also seems like a missed opportunity to hear Rodney bitch some more about wanting special treatment for his now long-past birthday.

So Mike’s mom Deborah comes back to camp, and son tells mommy all about how everyone is gunning for him. He says he’s never seen a season where so many people were there to play the game. (That seems like a highly debatable point, but I’ll let it slide.) He also says he trusts his mom 10,000 percent, which just sounds like the most outrageous absurd percentage of all time. However, this is far from the last time nonsensical percentages will be used in this episode.

The next morning, the two go early to the challenge to cash in on Mike’s advantage, and the advantage is this: The next challenge involves the players being blindfolded and having to retrieve four medallions (of power?) and the immunity idol. But for his advantage, Mike now gets to practice on the course for 30 minutes while his seeing mother helps him navigate.

Pay no attention to anything that happens over the next few minutes because while Deborah will try to convince you she messed up and that “He’ll never tell you that I let him down but I’m here to tell you I did,” it’s all a bunch of hogwash. This is a massive advantage. A challenge like this is all about feeling your way around and getting used to the rhythm of the course. Going in with having had a half hour to get used to the blindfold and the path you need to get to each place when figuring out what methods don’t work pretty much gives you the game. (Unless you’re Will, who would have found a way to mess it up.)

This illustrates my basic opposition to the challenge advantage—now a good amount of the drama has already been sucked out of the event before it even begins, and what could have been a breathtaking photo finish like at the end of a similar challenge in Heroes vs. Villains, becomes a rout. And that is exactly what we get—a rout. Even with the other players teaming up to find medallions and beat Mike, he found all four and the immunity necklace when the most anyone else had was two. As predicted, not even close. Oh well.

Probst has often said that people decide on whether they like twists or not based on whom the twist happens to and whether it is someone for which they are rooting. I understand what he’s saying, but disagree. In fact, in a way, it can be the opposite. Because I was rooting for Mike to win immunity, but instead of pumping my fist in the air like a moron—or, even worse, performing the happy dance—upon his victory, I just felt like it would have been more exciting to see him win it stacked up even Steven. So his advantage had the opposite effect—it actually dampened my enthusiasm. (Does this make any sense whatsoever?)

NEXT: Where art though, Rites of Passage?

So they get back to camp and Carolyn has to start working Mike; she tells us that she has a bond with him and “I’m going to use that to secure my place in the final four.” She doesn’t need to use much as Mike informs her that, “I’m definitely not writing your name down—1,000 percent.” That 1,000 percent sounds awfully impressive until you compare it to the 10,000 percent he spoke out with his mother. So basically, Carolyn, if my math is correct—and it’s usually not—that means that if you do a percentage ratio with 10,000 percent actually equaling a mathematically possible 100 percent, your pitiful 1,000 percent is thereby reduced to a 10 percent chance of him definitely not writing your name down. Anyone else’s head hurt?

After taking to the women, Mike goes to chat with the men…well, just Rodney because when it comes to Will, it’s kind of like, what’s the point, right? Mike tells Hot Rod that “it’s between you and someone else” and that the females are targeting him. For his part, Rodney doesn’t like that the women were sucking up to Mike and explains that, “I don’t kiss no man’s ass, bro.”

I’m going to let that one sit for a minute. Let’s all just pause for the cause to take that one in. It’s nice, right? But so many questions: Is Rodney implying he would not be opposed to kissing a woman’s ass? After all, he was so gender-specific. And is there any chance whatsoever that Rodney is aware that by using a double negative he is actually stating that he is, in fact, open to the kissing of some selected man asses? Is that possible? By not kissing no man’s ass, he must, in turn be kissing some man’s ass. But which man ass to kiss? I mean, at this point it’s either Will or Mike. Not great options, to be sure. (Any chance of getting Joe back in the game for this?) Either way, can someone please get Rodney a spaghetti-strapped tank top with that phrase emblazoned across it and pronto? It’s just too good.

Off to our first Tribal Council we go to find out who’s going home. Sierra says she should stay because she has come closest to beating Mike in challenges, to which Probst replies, “Now is that a case to keep you or get rid of you because tonight your pitch should be ‘I can’t win. I’ll never win a challenge.’” Au contraire, mon frère! The goal at this point is to beat Mike because Mike wins if Mike gets to the end, so if Sierra offers up the best chance to do that, then Sierra has value. So she is actually making a bit of sense here is what I’m saying.

And make no mistake, Mike needs to win. He says so himself and Will agrees: “If he doesn’t win immunity tomorrow, he’s gonna be sorry—150,000 percent.” 150,000 PERCENT?!? SERIOUSLY?!? How freakin’ high do these percentages go?!? Is there any ceiling whatsoever on imaginary percentages? At this point you may well as well just start making up words to go with them. “Actually, Jeff, I trust these other guys BoobidyDoobidy percent. That’s somewhere between HamburglerMcCheese percent and WangChungChumbawamba percent.” Seriously, that makes about as much sense.

Anyway, Sierra gets voted out and Dan audibly says, “Wow,” which is just a precursor to what will shape up to be the least silent jury ever. And now, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to bow your heads and observe a moment of silence. A moment of reflection if you will. To reflect and share our thoughts and fondest memories for the most dearly departed of Survivor segments…the Rites of Passage. Yes, that’s right, because now is usually the time in a Survivor finale when the final four wax poetic about their fallen comrades, even ones they may have never shared a beach with for a single day. I mocked this segment for years upon years, but now kind of miss it. Call it Stockholm Syndrome, if you will. I just found the pained looks on contestants as they struggled to come up with something nice to say about someone voted out on day three to be unintentionally hilarious. Yet the Rites of Passage have now gone the way of the giant gong and trunk full of cash that used to reside at Tribal Council. Farewell, old friend…

NEXT: We didn’t start the fire (and neither did Carolyn or Rodney)

Final immunity challenge time! It’s another giant vertical build. For some reason they love doing this in Nicaragua. We saw it before early this season, we saw it last season, and we saw Boston Rob have to repeatedly climb massive sets of stairs in two different challenges on Redemption Island. (Yep, there you have it—more useless facts!) In any event, for this one contestants must untie knots to open a gate and race up a huge tower to retrieve a key. Then they must slide down a waterslide, and go through multilevel obstacle course and use the key to release a bag of puzzle pieces. After going up down and those stairs multiple times and collecting all three bags, they finish by constructing a lighthouse puzzle. The lighthouse is to honor Francisco Nagarote, who used a lighthouse to warn local Nicaraguan military commanders of impending U.S. forces seeking to occupy the country in the early 1900s. Actually, nothing about that last sentence is even remotely true. I have no idea why they had to construct a lighthouse. For seagulls to poop on, maybe? I don’t know. Not important.

I always prefer the simple endurance challenges of yesteryear for my final immunity challenges, but I have to say this challenge is pretty badass as you can see everyone struggling on those stairs big time. Carolyn looks like she’s about to die and no one else appears much better, but when all is said and done, Mike has the biggest lighthouse…which is not what it sounds like. I just mean he won—nothing more, nothing less. And when I say “nothing more,” I’m not talking about…. Okay, let’s move on. And let’s move on quickly because Jeff Probst is about to give Will a fist bump and that is too awkward for all parties involved.

So Carolyn is a goner, right? I mean, why the hell would Mike keep his biggest competition? The game is over! You won, big fella! No wonder you’re doing the happy dance back at camp. Just get her out of here as an insurance policy and you’re good to go. Now, I won’t say Mike is about to pull a Woo because Woo took a million dollars out of his own pocket by bringing Tony to the end. That was clear cut: Woo brings Kass, he wins. Woo brings Tony, he loses. And Woo brought Tony. Mike most likely has this either way, but still, play it safe, dude! But no, he says because the Blue Collars turned their backs on him, he doesn’t want any of them in the final three. “I would rather be the guy to lose to Mama C than be the guy that just took two goats to the end and won.” Not me!

So Mama C spends two hours practicing how to make fire…and can’t make fire. Sure, enough, Mike keeps his word and after a tie at Tribal Rodney and Carolyn go at it and it is almost as downright silly as that Becky-Sundra Cook Islands affair. Six minutes in, Carolyn breaks her flint and needs another. 20 minutes in, Rodney asks for another flint. One minute after that, Rodney asks for his old flint back. After that, Carolyn breaks her second flint and she gets a third one. Finally, after 53 minutes, Rodney makes a flame and keeps it going. “Get wood, get wood,” says Dan, who is not supposed to say anything, but he is Dan so does not care about what he is and is not supposed to do. Then, “Oh my God, she’s got flame too!” says Shirin, who is not supposed to say anything, but Shirin is a spaz and we should just be happy she’s not talking about monkey sex..

In the end, Carolyn wins, leading Rodney to curse at himself and then inform us that had he made the final three that “It would have been a breeze. I would have easily won this game.” I will present that without comment except to say the following: ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? Oh, I wonder how Rodney feels about Mike? “For this scumbag redneck to make me do a fire-making competition—it’s a bunch of horses—. He’s a scared little baby. He’s a silly redneck and he’s gonna get what’s coming to him.” You mean, like a million dollars?

So that’s it! We have our final three. And now we get to hear from each of them about their journey. Only problem is that Will is telling us about how great it is to make it to day 39 and I’m pretty sure I just fell asleep. Oh, I shouldn’t be so hard on Will. After, all, he has an incredible sense of humor. Just listen to him talking about how all he needs to do now persuade eight people to vote for him to win the million dollars. See! Hilarious!

NEXT: The jury speaks!

Whatever. Let them have their final day feast. Let’s just get back to Tribal to hear the opening statements from the final three…only there are no opening statements from the final three. That’s weird. My first guess was that they made them, but they simply got edited out for time, but then again I went back and looked at it and doesn’t appear so. Weird. Anyway, let’s go through the juror questions one by one:


Look at nice guy Joe talking tough! “I have an open vote tonight, but you got to earn it,” he says. Joe says he wants no B.S. He wants the gloves off. He even tells Will to “man up and own your game.” (What game?) He tells Mama C, “You’re kind of cold.” But after telling people to answers questions honestly, Joe doesn’t even bother to ask them a question. Bizarre.


Literally her question was so boring I don’t even remember what it was.


We pretty much covered this one already at the top of the recap. It should be noted that Rodney also asks Mama C what her big power moves were and she takes credit for getting rid of Tyler and then using her idol to dispose of Dan. Pretty impressive, but unfortunately for Carolyn, her keepin’ it real cred is perilously low.


Tyler accuses Mike of being paranoid and “looking to destroy everything that he was touching,” to which Mike responds that people back home love him—inspiring lots of vigorous negative head nodding from Dan. Tyler also says he’s “gutted” that Carolyn turned on him and asks her “What can you give me that will redeem yourself in my eyes?” First off, super annoying question. But it tees Mama C up for the best answer of the evening: “Survivor makes you do things to get to this point that you may not be proud of, But if you don’t do them, you’re sitting on the jury.” Exactly! Now go sit down, Tyler.


First off, Sierra looks like she killed a cheetah and wore it to Tribal Council, so that’s awesome. She asks Will, “Which trait from the other two players did you wish you possessed in this game,” and Will says he likes Mike’s work ethic but not his approach and the way Carolyn analyzes stuff before putting them in motion. I have no idea why I bothered relaying what Will’s answer was. Did anyone care? No? So I just wasted both of our time. Sorry.


Jenn pulls the old Sue Hawk/David Murphy/Spencer Bledsoe trick where they address the jury and tell them not be bitter and lame and instead vote for the best player. She also calls them crybabies. Here’s her speech: “Half of you are the most bitter people I’ve ever met in my life. And angry at people who played better than you. You are all so mad at Mike for playing. Like everyone freaks out and tried this strategy and didn’t work, tried this strategy and didn’t work. What else was he supposed to do? You guys were so on your whole group-thing bullcrap. You kicked him out of his own house, put up a barbed wire fence and said ‘Come on, try to come in. We dare you.’ Mike is the only person that outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted. The other two might have done one of those things, but that’s not the rules of Survivor. And you guys say that you’re super-fans? Well if you’re a fan, then you’re actually going to vote for who deserves it. Get over it. Prove that you’re a fan. The end.”


Dan brings up Colby and says Mike failed to care about the jury, which I don’t really think is true at all. He also tells him “Well, let me tell you brother—you damn well better care about us tonight, ‘cause there’s no necklace to save your ass tonight.” Has anyone else noticed that there’s a lot of discussion about Mike’s ass in this finale? This is a particularly ass-happy cast it seems. Anyway, Dan doesn’t even ask a question. Dan sits down. Mike apologizes anyway. Dan stands back up. Dan walks back over to the middle of Tribal Council. Dan talks about mending fences. But the show is only getting started.

NEXT: The fireworks continue


So a few things happen here. Shirin begins talking about standing up for herself against Will and not needing a protector. “But the huge magical thing that happened was that I did have a protector. I never had a parent to come save me. I never had a friend to come do that. And Mike, like a real human being, ran into camp to save me. And that was a million dollar moment for me. And what you all don’t know about me is I made my first million by the time I was 25 years old and that moment felt so much better and meant so much more to me.” Okay, probably could have left out the whole millionaire-by-25-thing. Just sayin’, as an editor I might have slashed that line.

However, here’s where things get interesting. “But Mike, that doesn’t mean that you have my vote.” Shirin goes on to compare Mike to a howler monkey because “he will throw feces in your face.” (Again with Mike’s ass! What is happening here?!?). She also says Carolyn is like a sting ray because she will sting you dead if she senses danger. These two comparisons were made as compliments. The next one is not. “And then you have Will, Will is the dead fish we dragged in with our nets. We willingly bit into the dead fish, but if you bite into the dead fish, he will poison you from within.” Honestly, I don’t really get why she is saying people were biting dead fish, but at least we’re no longer talking about Mike’s butt, so fine by me.

So the only thing left is for Shirin to attempt to get high off sniffing the voting pen and for Dan to milk as much camera time as possible by pretending to agonize over his vote. So they all vote and Jeff brings them back to the U.S. But not by jet ski. Not by subway. Not by skydiving or motorcycling or any other incredible mode of transportation. It makes me sad. It makes me very, very sad.

But Mike is very, very happy once the votes are read announcing him as the winner. So happy he pulls a Dawson and runs over and smooches Jeff Probst. Then he barrels into the audience knocking over anyone and anything in his path. Good for him. The guy loves the game and to see anyone that excited about playing and winning gets me excited.

But the excitement has only begun! That’s not technically true, but we do have a whole other hour to go with the Reunion show and Second Chance cast announcement. Seeing as how we just hit 5,000 words, I’ll try to hit the highlights as quickly as possible. Let’s attack this in bullet point form.

• Rocking a crazy blue suit, Rodney still believed he would have won had he made it to the end, yet when Probst asked for a show of hands, only Jenn and Dan raised their arms. And that, my friends, is what we call a reality check.

• Oh, boy. The Dan stuff at the reunion was nuts. First off, he continued to defend his comments to and about Shirin even while also saying “I own up to my faults.” But then Probst went next level by showing raw footage of the scene where Dan called Rodney’s mother a whore to refute Dan’s claims in an interview with yours truly that the entire thing was due to “selective editing.”

I will tell you one thing about Jeffrey Probst: He will fiercely defend the integrity of his show, so when Dan said it was all editing, Jeff was ready to go on the offensive. But it wasn’t just about that. Jeff also asked Dan very tough questions about whether he was sexist and whether he may be completely unaware of his attitudes and how they are perceived by other people. Jeff promised he would have plenty to say about this stuff at the reunion, and “We still have Rodney and Will to deal with” may be one of my favorite things he has ever said.

NEXT: Thoughts Will–Shirin and the Second Chance cast

• Okay, now on to Will. This was awkward. No two ways about it. Will started by saying that he did apologize to Shirin at Ponderosa then sent a text after the episode aired. Unfortunately for Will, the camera cut to Shirin nodding her head no and giving a thumbs down sign while he spoke. Shirin denied it and said that Will had not yet offered her what she considered a sincere apology “and only days after [the episode aired] when the public opinion was largely negative did he then cave and send me a weak apology.” Will tried to apologize to Shirin and Shirin’s family but then also kind of lectured her about how “You have to get to the point where you can forgive.”

However then it got even MORE awkward. After being asked by Probst if she accepted Will’s apology, Shirin took a roundabout way of saying no, not completely—which led to shouting from Will’s wife in the audience. Probst was looking to take this huge negative and turn it into a positive. That didn’t quite happen, but it wasn’t ugly either. Just…uncomfortable. I would like to say something about how Probst handled this stuff. It is not an easy thing to tackle this kind of material on live TV and be respectful to people while pressing them at the same time. Probst proved during that Phillip-Steven racial incident on Redemption Island that he is able to do just that. I thought he did a great job then and a great job here as well.

• But holy smokes, did Rodney get off Scott free or what?!? Because time was running short he didn’t have to answer a single question about his caveman-like views on how women need to hold themselves to a higher standard than men and instead got a birthday cake, serenade, and signed Probst photo to celebrate his much-discussed birthday. Getting to avoid the hot seat on national television is the best gift Hot Rod could have asked for.

• Finally, we had to learn the results of the Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance voting. You can see the full list here. But here are my thoughts. I’m very happy that so many old-timers like Wiglesworth, Varner, Savage, and Deitz made it. Not surprised that so many people from the early 20s (seasons 22-24) didn’t. The biggest snubs for me were Shane Powers, Jim Rice, and Carolyn. I knew Jim was a long-shot but hoped Shane would make it and thought Carolyn was a lock. I still have no clue why more people don’t respect her game. And for those of you who didn’t vote for Shane and Jim, you’re missing out.

Okay, now it is too late and this is too long, but I’ve got other stuff to get to. I’ve got to post that exclusive deleted scene from the finale below, and I also have to get some questions ready for my final Jeff Probst Q&A of the season. (My Q&A is with Probst is now live!) I’ll also be speaking to the entire final five, and you can come back for those interviews on Thursday. You can also follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss to find out when all those posts are live. Then, after all that is done, I am going to go sleep for a very, very long time.

But before I do any of that, I want to thank you. Thanks for playing along for another season. Your patronage and kind words are always appreciated. It means a lot, so yeah, again, thanks. Now go have it on the message boards. Did the right person win? Did you like the Reunion? Are you happy with the Second Chance cast? Go ahead and weigh in and I will be back in the fall with some brand new scoops of the crispy! And remember everyone to always without fail and without question…keep it real.

Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols


Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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