Kellyn’s Last Stand
It was a weird final episode for Kellyn in that you figured we would see her go out in a blaze of glory, but the majority of the episode focused instead on Donathan’s antics. I have no doubt Kellyn was scheming and plotting and cajoling to the bitter end, but we never saw it. It’s no secret: I like Kellyn. Some were turned off by her pouty fits when she would lose a challenge or not get picked for a reward or whatever, but I found it entertaining as hell to watch someone who so freely freaked out in both positive and negative ways.
Survivor is a rollercoaster, and you saw every dip and turn of the ride in Kellyn’s face and wildly gesticulating limbs. She was the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, all rolled into the same package. Let’s face it: the woman is a spaz. But I love spazzes! And, as a viewer, isn’t that what you want to see: someone freaking out in joy as they run over to grab a reward, and someone throwing their rope down in disgust when they get eliminated? I do. I want you to be psyched when you win and I want you to be pissed when you lose. The more animated the better, and if nothing else, Kellyn was animated.
She also proved to be a good sport on her way out of the game. When all was said and done and she was sent packing, she turned to the folks that just voted her out and said, “It’s truly been a pleasure from the bottom of my heart. I wish you all the best of luck.” I’ll admit it: I was disappointed. I was hoping for one more rant or rave just to tide me over until we hopefully get some super-crazy reaction shots from her perch on the jury, but it was still nice to see nonetheless.
The Final 6
So here we are. We have our final 6 heading into the finale. Let me ask you a question: Is there any path to victory for anyone not named Domenick or Wendell? I don’t see it. They both have idols. They both seemingly have Sea Bass and Yanny on lockdown. I’m not even sure if Angela knows what game she is playing, and after all of these latest antics, I’m not sure Donathan has the respect of the jury he would need to carry out a win. It feels like it has to be Domenick or Wendell.
So which of them has the inside track? It appears to be Wendell. Most people in the game or on the jury appear a bit closer to him than Domenick. Yes, Dom has the two challenge wins already, but as we’ve seen the past — especially the past two seasons — juries really do not put much weight into challenge performances at all. I wrote about this after Ben beat Christy in season 35 and here’s what I said then in terms of why juries seem to respect hidden idols so much more than challenges:
“I would argue that a challenge win is probably more impressive than finding an idol. Sure, it depends on the challenge and how hard you had to work to find the idol, but the point is the two should be seen pretty similarly in terms of achievement. But they’re not. Juries seem to be more impressed with idols over necklaces and I think that’s because of the theater involved.
“Think about it. The jury doesn’t see the challenge. They don’t see the domination. They don’t see the big comeback. They don’t see the way someone almost passed out to will him or herself to victory. All they see is someone walk in with a necklace. There’s no tension. There’s no drama. Just jewelry. Now compare that to playing an idol. It’s the height of drama! That’s why the jury seems to lose its collective mind every time one is played. Therefore the achievement seems heightened because it is happening right in front of their face. They see someone saving themselves before their very eyes. They see the other players still in the game with their open mouths and shocked looks. They see it all. And it therefore has far more impact, even if the achievement may not even be as great.”
Anyway, that’s what I wrote then. All I know is F.U. Brad Culpepper and Chrissy dominated in challenges and both lost the last two seasons, so even if Dom also ends up sweeping the final three immunities to give him five for the season, I still think Wendell probably beats him.
While their inevitable march to the finals has no doubt been predictable and frustrating for many viewers, at this point anything that does not involve them sitting next to each other at the end would be a letdown. That is the epic showdown this entire season has been leading up to. Let’s hope it doesn’t take a final four fire-making tiebreaker to make it happen.
Okay, we need to get to the new updated season rankings now and see where Ghost Island falls, but since the rankings tend go for a bit, just a reminder to read my weekly Q&A with Probst and Kellyn exit interview, and to also check out an exclusive deleted scene from the episode on the last page. Okay let’s get it to it, and please feel free to put your own rankings in the comments section as no two lists are ever the same.
SURVIVOR SEASON-BY SEASON RANKINGS
(From best to worst)
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 and you have to do your best to judge these seasons on the era in which they aired.) 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 twoimmunity 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. (Recap continues on next page)