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Survivor

S33 E14
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S33 E14
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December 15, 2016 at 07:52 PM EST

Sit the hell down, Bob Crowley! That’s right, take a seat, old man! Plop down on your gigantic pile of money — the million dollars you accumulated by winning Survivor: Gabon — for all I care. But you are no longer the champion. I mean, yes, you are still technically the champion of Survivor: Gabon, as well as the champion of turning a buff into a bow tie — those titles remain intact and undisputed. But your fake immunity-idol-making skills have been officially put on notice!

That’s because of one David Wright. David did not win Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. Adam did and we’ll definitely get to that in a minute. But let’s stick with David for now. After being voted out so close to the end, the guy said “I’m going to walk out of this game a new man, and that’s worth more than a million dollars. So, in a way, I did win!” WRONG! You can take all that personal growth garbage and shove it, mister! No, you won, David, because you constructed the most insane, impressive, incredible fake immunity idol of time. It was Van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, and Warhol all wrapped in one. The bizarre, random pink circle you put on the outside of the coconut to make it look like a coconut wearing one of Zeke’s shirts? Brilliant!

Of course, the brilliance of David’s fake idol was more than just paint and beads and shells. It was performance art, and the performance in this case came courtesy of Jay. Poor Jay. The dude is so likable. And he played hard. And, for the most part, well. Pretty impossible not to dig the guy. Which is why I kind of felt bad the show basically made fun of him for almost half an hour for not realizing it was a decoy idol. But not too bad, obviously, seeing as I am about to do the exact same thing here.

See, if Jay had just found the phony-baloney idol and been happy about it, it would have been mildly amusing. But when he started turning into Braggy McGee because of it, things truly went to the next level. “Luckily, these two fools didn’t look down,” he laughed when he thought David and Ken simply hadn’t been as observant as he was. “Take me out of the game, b-tches? Thank you, bastards!” he bellowed as he went back to retrieve it. “No one saw me get the freaking idol. I have a train of losers following me back to camp,” he mocked as he kissed his new prized possession.

Oh, it was simultaneously wonderfully hilarious and painfully difficult to watch, but was yet another great piece of theater in what turned out to be a great season of Survivor. A season that remains great due to the crowning of a solid winner in Adam, who by no means played a perfect game. He foolishly trusted Taylor right after he voted out the guy’s island girlfriend and I still can’t believe he fell for Sunday’s Tribal Council ruse that the opposition would vote for Ken instead of Hannah. But he bobbed and weaved throughout the game, identifying the biggest targets and trying to take them out, even when Hannah wouldn’t let him. He won an individual immunity. He found a reward steal and two hidden immunity idols. Not a dominating game, but a very solid one to be sure.

And then there is his personal story. Now, you regular readers know I have no heart whatsoever and feel that outside forces — what you do for a living, how much money you have, whether you are single or supporting a family — should not be factored in when deciding on whom should win the million-dollar prize. The vote should go to who played the best game. Period. But OH, MY GOD, Adam’s story about being a massive Survivor fan with his mother, applying for the Blood vs. Water season together, and then going to play in her honor while she suffered from stage 4 lung cancer back home — how can you not want to honor that? Even a crusty old curmudgeon like me can’t help but want to see Adam have a somewhat happy ending.

I say “somewhat” only because Adam’s mother died shortly after he returned home, and I am sure he would rather have his mother than the title of Sole Survivor. But what a way to honor her and bring the experience he shared with her watching Survivor full circle by going on the show and winning the whole kit and caboodle. And when he pulled a Jeremy Collins and dropped that emotional bombshell in his final words right before the jury went up to vote? Game. Set. Match. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had been up there and felt Hannah or Ken had played a better game, I still would have voted for them, even if it was in between drying my eyes with Kleenex. But they didn’t. And Adam’s words about his mother, her connection to him, and their connection to the game only served to cement his status as the deserving winner. Bottom line: Those final words may not have had any impact on the vote, but it had to impact how great it made people feel to vote for him. 

So, a hearty congratulations to Adam Klein. Winning Survivor is a dream come true for so many people, but I am pretty confident I can say no win has meant as much to a winner as yours did. To take a tragedy like this and have even a sliver of positivity come out of it is flat-out awesome.

But we were all winners, really, when it comes to this season. (Well, not Rachel Ako. She got voted out first. That has to suck.) It was a season that went from not bad to pretty good to legitimately great over the course of a few months, and for that, we should all be grateful. So let’s do the Time Warp again and recap everything that went down in both the finale and reunion. WARNING: This is my longest Survivor recap ever. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is as debatable as Zeke’s choice in shirts.)

NEXT: The Legacy Advantage is finally unleashed

( 1 of 11 )

Jeff Probst leads adventurous in the ultimate (and original) reality series.
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36
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run date
05/31/00
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