By Dalton Ross
December 19, 2018 at 11:05 PM EST
CBS

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.

I mentioned this already, but the editing on that initial idol hunt was — unlike Mike’s final score for Alison — A+. Although Angelina’s grade after finding the idol clue was decidedly less excellent. First, she lost the clue. Then, she forgot where the idol was hidden. Then, she climbed way too high and almost got stuck on a cliff. It was a parade of errors that would have been even more hilarious had she told the rock wall about that awesome thing she did to get the tribe more rice. (In fairness, 99% of what happens on the island does not make the final edit, so maybe we should just go ahead and assume she did tell the rock wall about the rice.)

We haven’t had a puzzle in a long time, which reminds me: What do I always say about a challenge with a puzzle? It’s ALL about the puzzle. You win that, you win the challenge, no matter how poorly you did in anything leading up to it. And that theory was proven correct yet again in the first immunity challenge of the finale. Nick was waaaaaaay back in fifth place after racing through obstacles, releasing puzzle steps, and building a staircase. Didn’t matter. He mastered the 63-piece logo puzzle to win immunity anyway. Why? Because it’s all about the puzzle.

Two other notes about this competition. First off, even though all the non-puzzle stuff was merely window dressing, it was nice to see the contestants actually moving for a change after so many line-up-and-hold-this-thing-for-as-long-as-possible challenges. And secondly, I love that Probst had to tell the contestants that, “When you have it, step back and yell. You’ve got to let me know.” I love it because I can imagine Wendell Holland at that very moment sitting on his throne made out of stacks of hundred-dollar bills cursing at the television set. (He was either doing that or calling Chris Noble to tell him how bad he is at rapping.)

This immunity challenge also happened to be for reward, and Nick won a spaghetti dinner back at camp complete with lots of other food that Jeff Probst had an orgasm describing. Nick picked Angelina and Mike for a Jabeni reunion, which I imagine was about as hotly anticipated a reunion as the big ballyhooed Stryper comeback of 2003.

Anyway, then because she had lost the clue and almost died on a cliff that she later described as being roughly the same size as Mt. Everest, Angelina had to tell Nick and Mike that she needed their help to get the idol. Mike’s help consisted of him super-gluing his hand to his wine glass so as not to ever put it down for a single second while searching for the missing clue. Seriously, this may have been the funniest moment of the entire episode. Nothing comes between Mike White and his wine!

Once they finally figured out where the idol was, there was one last moment of delicious awkwardness as Nick attempted to go up the ladder to steal Angelina’s idol before she asked to do it. Every fiber of my being at this point wished for Nick to just race up the ladder and grab it for himself BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE LED TO THE BEST FIVE MINUTES IN SURVIVOR HISTORY!!! Alas, he relented. Boo, Nick! I take it all back. You don’t deserve the million dollars after all.

Nick wanted Alison out because Davie was his bro. Angelina wanted Alison out because… actually, I have no idea why she wanted Alison out. Isn’t Alison the person you want to bring all the way to the end? Maybe Angelina just didn’t want to have to sit and have any more super-uncomfortable conversations where she had to say things like “I’ll be honest with you. I could sway this either way. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve kind of been driving the last three-ish votes.” I’m sorry, come again? Really?

Here’s the thing. On one hand, what Angelina was doing — falsely positioning herself as the mastermind to a soon-to-be jury member — made sense. On the other hand, it just fed into the perception that people have of her out there, which is that Angelina loves herself some Angelina. But while Angelina and Nick wanted Alison out, Mike had other plans, and a plan he was ready to put into action. He got Kara on board and then convinced Angelina (correctly) that Davie was the much bigger threat.

And indeed it was Davie that went out at the first Tribal of the night, but not without some parting words. I don’t mean the type of parting words a player usually says over the closing credits after they have left Tribal Council and are forced to sit in a little Tribal-nook and talk about how it all went wrong as way too many names in way too small a font race by on the screen underneath. No, Davie had some pre-parting parting words. “No hard feelings, guys,” he said after having his torch snuffed. “But I will say this: The person who orchestrated this, you now have my vote for a million dollars. It’s up to someone else to make a bigger move. Love you, guys.”

How cool was that? Not taking offense, but rather giving credit to the person who got him out while also prodding others to take risks down the homestretch. I mean, it didn’t necessarily work in that I didn’t see any huge, crazy, risky moves after that little mini-speech, but it was still cool. Gotta love the attitude. And that pretty much extends to Davie’s entire stay on the island. The self-proclaimed “Blerd” managed to navigate that tricky line of playing hard and also having a blast. Often it is one or the other, but Davie appeared to embrace the joy of the experience while also playing his ass off. When I read over Davie’s bizarre pre-season bio, I remember being confident this guy would have no idea what he was doing and be among the first ones out. Just read this entry from his bio. And this is not a joke. Go read it on his online page if you don’t believe me:

What’s your personal claim to fame?
My online presence. I’ve always prided myself on my social media presence via various platforms. I wear my pages on my sleeve so to say that anything a person wants to know about me they can find on my multiple accounts. I’ve been proclaimed “the social media guru” among my closest friends because I know every trick and trinket to the game. 

Examples: Posting at peak hours to maximize the amount of “likes” you receive, guaranteed responses from females via Direct Messages (how to slide into them DMs), not to mention providing Grade A entertainment via video stories regularly. 

I’ve often also been told that my Instagram/Twitter/Facebook is “my favorite” from friends and have even been called by my Instagram handle in public quite frequently (@iHateDavie) by strangers. Social media is also the reason I became employed with the top agency in the world for Public Health. I can say with confidence that it is my expertise and claim to fame undeniably.

WHAT THE HELL DID WE JUST READ?! His personal claim to fame is posting at peak hours on social media to maximize the amount of “likes” he receives? What planet is this? Does that sound like someone that would turn into a legitimate threat to win the game of Survivor? But he was! He could have won this game! And I loved Davie! Which leads me to ask the question: Why am I not following him on social media? I probably should! Especially when you consider some of the lame-os who I am following. People who may post at, like, 2 or 3 a.m. Why would they do that? That’s a terrible time to post hilarious musings or couch selfies. Davie doesn’t do that. David knows exactly the best hour to post, every time. It’s his personal claim to fame!

Anyhoodle, Nick was pissed about being deceived on the vote and let everyone know about it, doing that hilarious thing where you take something you should say really quiet but yell it REALLY LOUD so everyone can hear your temper tantrum and know how pissed you are. It’s honestly one of my favorite things in the world. In this case, Nick started yelling about how Alison would win in the end, which seems to be a stretch. I mean, the editors already counted her out on day one so her fate has seemed pretty much sealed from the get-go.

Nick was also pretty sure that he was next to go if he didn’t win immunity, which serves as the perfect segue to the next immunity challenge. This one forced contestants to stand on a pole and use a bucket to…. Hold on a second, Alison looks like she’s about to fall. “Alison. Just hold on a second and let me explain the challenge to everyone.” Anyway, as I was saying, they use that bucket to retrieve water they must then pour down a chute which will raise a…. Oh, geez. Here she goes again. “Alison, stop looking down! Haven’t you seen all those cheesy movies where someone is in danger of plummeting to their death and the person tells them to not look down because if they look down they will lose their focus and end up falling? Yeah, well, don’t look down!”

Anyway, the rest of the challenge description doesn’t matter anyway. Why? Say it with me, people: It’s all about the puzzle. In this case, a block puzzle. Apparently, in a mad dash to get as far away from that ocean perch as possible, Alison was actually first to the beach and first to the puzzle, but that didn’t matter. Nick quickly overcame her, and not all the puzzle copying in the world could help Alison at that point as Nick won his second straight immunity.

Which brings us finally to Fake Idolgate, which is sandwiched somewhere in between Ricegate and Jacketgate in terms of the best Angelina-inspired gates of the season. First, a little background: Do you remember when I went on some epic tangent a few seasons back about why juries respect idol plays so much more than challenge wins? The basic gist was that juries respond more to idol plays because they watch the drama play out right in front of them, while they don’t get to see any of the drama of the challenge victory. All they see for that is someone show up with a silly-looking necklace around their neck so it makes far less an impact. This is why Ben won over Chrissy. She won four individual immunity challenges, including the last three, but if you were an early member of the jury, you didn’t see any of that. Instead, all you saw were Ben Bombs being detonated right in front of you at Tribal Council, so he appeared to be the bigger player even if his win was more a triumph of foraging than strategy.

I bring all this up to set the stage for Angelina. And make no mistake, Angelina wanted a stage. And a spotlight. And perhaps a few backup dancers if at all possible. Why? Because she wanted her moment. She wanted, in her words, to create, “an epic Tribal Council… and have me be the star of the show.” And let’s be clear about something: That is exactly what she should want. That’s what every player should want. The jury should be considered in everything you do and say at Tribal Council. It’s why Carl said “Bing” and held up his note after nullifying Dan’s idol. He wanted the credit for it. Now Angelina wanted credit for something.

But here’s where things got weird. It’s one thing to want credit from the jury. It’s another altogether to ask the two people you plan on going to the end with to help you with your jury management. I don’t think I am being hyperbolic or overstating in the least when I say that Angelina asking Mike and Nick to help her to do something “just for the jury” so she could better argue her case against them at the final Tribal Council is one of the most inexplicable things I have ever seen in the history of Survivor. Why would they ever agree to that? “Hey, can you all help me beat you and collect one million dollars? Is that cool?” Of course, it’s not cool! It’s not even remotely cool. Why would she think it would be cool?

Angelina’s plan was to convince Kara and Alison to vote for her so that it would then look a lot more dramatic for her to play her otherwise useless hidden immunity idol. But then, not unlike the Grinch hatching a plan to rob Whoville blind, Angelina got even more diabolical. She decided to create a fake idol, hoping Alison would find and play it, thereby creating even more fireworks for which she could take credit. But ask yourself this: Why in the name of Dreamz would anyone want to take credit for that? There was ZERO strategic advantage to putting this fake idol into play. Zero. Instead, it was likely to just come off as petty and mean.

“She’s like a cruel psychopath,” said Mike of the plan. “She’s evil. Diary of a Mad Freakin’ Castaway.” I don’t think Angelina’s evil. But I do think she massively miscalculated how this move would be perceived by others. This just came off as kicking someone when they were down. Or rubbing salt in the wound. Or adding insult to injury. Or whatever other cliché you care to use. And it, once again, reinforced the perception that Angelina was not having those genuine “raw human moments” that she professed to wanting to create when caught jury managing to Elizabeth.

So Alison did, in fact, find the fake idol and once they got to Tribal Council she… Hold on! What the hell is Davie wearing on the jury? Holy moly, check out my man in the red pants, floral shirt, sporty necklace and clean, close shave. THIS LOOK SHOULD BE HIS NEW PERSONAL CLAIM TO FAME!!! Spectacular. There was also a spectacularly out of nowhere Tribal feud forming between Mike an Alison. Alison had the unmitigated gall to call Mike out as a threat in the game, which was, by the way, 100% accurate. Mike then responded with lots of eye rolls and telling Alison she was not “leaving with a shred of dignity.”

Not sure what that was about. Granted, we only saw about 11 seconds of her all season, but Alison has always seemed dignified to me. And why shouldn’t she fight for her Survivor life by calling Mike out as a threat? She didn’t make any personal attacks. She merely stated a truth of the game. Frankly, it would have been more undignified to sit back and die without a fight. So good for her. She also went up to play the fake idol while taking the wind out of Angelina’s proverbial sails by showing no confidence in it whatsoever and vocalizing that she was pretty sure it was a fake.

Then it was time for the main act. After admitting to “making the jankiest fake idol in history” just so everyone there knew exactly whose idea it was, Angelina brought her own real idol up, announcing, “I’m confident I have the votes tonight to go towards Alison, but I’d love a guaranteed spot in the final four, Jeff. Thanks. You made me work for that one too.”

How fabulous is that? Seriously, just break it down. In one swoop she took credit for the fake idol she made, for gathering the votes to get Alison out, for guaranteeing herself into the final four, and for working really, really had to find the idol. I am slow-clapping in my brain right now in honor of that speech. Was it laying it on a bit thick? Well, it started congealing all over my laptop once I started typing the words in so what the hell do you think? Of course, it was laying it on too thick! Way too thick! Which is yet reason #347 why I never want to watch another television show without Angelina on it. And I’m not talking about just bringing her back on Survivor or giving her a guest-starring turn on Bold & The Beautiful like they do with so many other CBS reality breakouts. Get this woman on however many NCIS shows happen to be on TV now. Put her on whatever comedy is currently losing half of Big Bang Theory’s lead-in audience. PUT HER ON EVERYTHING! CBS Evening News, The Late Show, whatever CBS’ morning show is called these days. All of it!

“She can’t stop talking about it,” noted Gabby from the jury of Angelina’s boast. Hey, that’s enough out of you, Pascuzzi! She’s not talking enough about it, if you ask me! Now pipe down from the jury box and focus all your energies instead into instigating a bidding war between Kleenex and Puffs to secure your national spokesperson skills for tissues. To be honest, Angelina’s big show kind of fizzled and Alison was indeed sent to the jury. Annnnnnd that extends my pathetic streak of futility when it comes to picking Survivor winners to an extraordinarily depressing 22 seasons and counting. Great. Just great.

I selected Alison this time because we saw a fair amount of her in the premiere. She said as much as anyone on the boat at the marooning, was picked by her tribe to compete or lead in both of the first two challenges, and was seen searching for an idol. Little did I know that the screen time she received in that episode would eclipse her airtime for the entire rest of the season combined. Bummer for her and bummer for me, but she seems like a nice accomplished woman who is no doubt moving on to things in her life that will far outstrip appearing on a reality television show once upon a time. The truth is, I worry about what will happen to some people after they come off this experience and have to return to regular life. Not Alison. Alison will be just fine.

Hey, I have a question? Who didn’t get enough balls in last week’s episode? Well, there was plenty of time for Jeff Probst to work on his double-entendres in the third and final immunity challenge. This was a classic competition in which players have one hand tied behind their back and must drop a ball down a chute, catch it at the bottom, and drop it back in. At regular intervals, balls are added, and when your ball drops (like both of Davie’s last week), you’re out.

This is always a tense competition to watch, lightened only by brief moments of levity such as Probst’s commentary that “Everybody now with two balls in motion!” It eventually came down to Nick vs. Kara, until Kara got distracted with the timing to add her fourth ball, leading to Nick’s third straight immunity win. It also led to Nick engaging in a super-awkward celebration, jumping up and down with one arm tied behind his back. I cringed while I watched, yet could not look away.

That meant Nick automatically made the final 3. It also meant he would be inadvertently punished for winning by allowing one of his competitors to have a hero moment— like Ben and Wendell in previous seasons — by winning at fire to get there (another dramatic moment right in front of the jury, unlike Chrissy, Dom, and now Nick’s final challenge victory). Who would Nick choose to sit next to him and who would have to battle it out to get there? We didn’t even have to wait until Tribal to find out as Nick announced at the beach that he was taking Angelina and forcing Mike and Kara to go to fire. That seemed to me like the right move in that Angelina was probably the easiest to beat. But then something else occurred to me.

Let’s say Nick viewed Mike as the biggest threat to beat him. That’s not a given because nobody on the island has seemed concerned in the least about Mike, which seems to be one of the great disconnects between player and viewer this season. But for the sake of this example, let’s say he thinks Mike is the biggest threat to beat him, so he would like Kara to win. Why not then tell Mike that you are bringing him to the end and that Angelina and Kara have to battle it out? That way, Mike does not bother practicing fire at all, putting him at a disadvantage going into the challenge. Why give him all day to practice? Tell him he’s safe and then drop the real plan on all of them at Tribal Council.

Now, Mike has not practiced and you also just created one of those big magical Tribal moments that Angelina was trying for when everyone at Tribal is shocked to learn the truth. And this one does not seem unnecessary and cruel. It actually has a totally valid strategic purpose. Anyway, something for all you future Survivor players to consider. Just make sure to credit me on the Reunion show after you have won your million and Sia has rushed the stage and they have panned to John Cochran in the audience enough times.

That’s how it all played out in my mind, but on the show, Mike practiced and then easily beat Kara (who never got a sustained flame). And the Jabeni final three indeed came to pass. They got to watch the sunrise, have a champagne brunch, and sit pensively on a rock looking dramatically off into the distance while discussing the incredible journey and personal growth they experienced along the way.

You all know I generally don’t give a crap about that nonsense, so let’s just head back for the final Tribal Council. We already know the result and I’ve already explained my slight misgivings about the entire affair just being a little too clean and drama-free, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some noteworthy stuff going on. Of course, the best moment of the Outwit portion had to be when Johnny Mundo said he wanted to talk to Mike and then Angelina interrupted anyway so she could talk to the jury instead. (Classic Angelina! Gotta love it!) She then — shocker! — brought up the rice again, leading to this mild rebuke from Davie that “I do have to point out that the whole point of a selfless act is to be selfless and not bring it up.” God, stop being such a killjoy, Davie. No one talks to my girl Angelina like that! Go sit next to Gabby and keep your “opinions” to yourself, please. Honestly, how dare you?

As for Mike, he talked a lot about all the final two deals he made — which is kinda odd seeing as how this is not Survivor: Panama and there is no final two in Survivor anymore — while Alison chastised the former Ned Scheebly for something that Probst alluded to in our finale preview, that Mike’s sarcasm can occasionally cut over into biting.

After an aborted attempt to move into the Outplay portion of Tribal — stopped only after Christian started dropping F-bombs… and by F-bombs I do not mean fractals, Fermat primes, Fibonacci numbers, or anything else math related — Probst finally guided us into the second portion of the discussion. Mike took a little heat here for doing nothing around camp, while Angelina tried her best to approximate the height of her epic climb to nowhere. She also took a hit from fellow finalist Nick, who told Alison that Angelina’s fake idol play was indeed meant to embarrass her. Angelina got a measure of payback, I suppose, by contorting her face in epic Eliza Orlins fashion when Nick described himself as a “people person.”

The Outlast portion is basically just final speeches to the jury so all three gave themselves props and cried and did all the things that people are supposed to do at final Tribal Councils. All three did well. Angelina said her story was about triumph, Nick talked about what happened to his mom and how it shaped both his professional and personal life, and Mike talked about being there for the rainbow rather than the pot of gold at the end.

I thought Mike’s words were especially interesting in that I couldn’t tell how they played with the jury. On one hand, they were personal and emotional and honest, which is exactly what you want to convey to a jury. On the other hand, by saying it wasn’t about the money at the end, was he giving license and freedom to the jury to then pick someone else to take the money, especially considering Mike most likely has plenty of it already? That may have been a miscalculation on his part. It may have cost him a million dollars. And, if what he was saying was actually true, he may not really care. (But I think he does. Mike is a competitive guy who loves this game. He has to care.)

Okay, let’s get into the live look-ins and mini-reunion show that followed with some odds and ends from that…

• That live kick-off to the evening with Probst walking on the stage past the early boots (at least some of them), past the jury (at least some of them), and past the final six (all of them!) before turning and showing us the screaming audience behind him totally fired me up! I felt so stupid in the way it totally pumped me up, but I didn’t care… because I was pumped up! The hype machine was in high gear, and I was all about it.

• The live set — which clearly mirrored the Tribal Council set was also super dope and the coolest live set we’ve seen yet. Major props to the art department for that.

• We all figured that Alec would not be invited to the finale due to him putting out a picture of him and Kara on social media before the cast was announced, and indeed he was nowhere to be found. But he wasn’t the only one not on the stage. Jeremy was also missing in action. Was he punished for saying that Angelina wanted to be in a showmance with John? That would seem odd. Did he refuse to come for some reason? (NOTE: Oh, right. Apparently he left Ponderosa early after being voted out, which is a big no-no, so he was disinvited as well. Forgot about that.) Either way, it’s too bad, because there was the potential for a pretty memorable reunion show moment by putting Jeremy and Angelina on a stage together (to say nothing of Jeremy and Natalie Napalm).

• Pretty cool moment when Davie came on stage after his elimination and talked about wanting to make the black audience proud because they don’t watch Survivor as much and he wanted to change that. Also, Davie’s wardrobe wins the season. On second thought, Davie’s wardrobe wins every season.

• Look, it’s Zeke! And Zeke’s boyfriend, Nico Santos! I don’t know why I am using exclamation points! But it’s nice to see people happy and Zeke seems happy. (I wonder if he got Cochran’s usual seat at the finale. Or the seat of some kid who was going to tell us that Christian was his favorite player.)

• Natalie said during the reality show she didn’t like her edit, making her maybe the 300th person to not like everything that is shown about him/her on this show. But kudos to Probst for not sweeping that under the rug and letting her air her grievances. It would have been very easy for him to simply not call on her.

• Also, we have to address this look:

• And we ended with a look at next season, Survivor: Edge of Extinction. I talked with the four returning players (Aubry Bracco, Kelley Wentworth, Joe Anglim, and David Wright (as well as Probst) and you can read that right here.

Okay, I’ve got a message for all of you who bothered to keep reading this far, but first, just a heads up that we have tons of other finale coverage for you. First off, we have that link for next season above, as well as our usual exclusive deleted scene for ya. And you’ll definitely want to check out our finale Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst once we get that up. And we will have interviews with the David vs. Goliath final 6 up soon. (You can go read our Q&As right now with new champion Nick Wilson, runner-up Mike, Angelina, KaraAlison, and Davie.) And for more Survivor scoop moving forward, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Soooooooo, that will about do it, I guess. I just want to say thanks for once again taking this insane ride with me. I’ve been doing this for a long time (too long, some might say) but the feedback I get from you all makes it all worthwhile. Seriously. When you are spending WAY too long dissecting an hour-long reality television show, it is nice to know it is not all for naught and that there is someone out there who actually appreciates it, so thanks to all you who have reached out either here or through social media with kind words, insane theories, and even respectful disagreements. Not only do you make my job more enjoyable, but you make the Survivor community a better place. So, yeah, thanks!

Season 38 will be coming up right around the corner. I went on location for that one so will have some bonus stuff for you on that in 2019. But for now, check out all my other finale interviews, enjoy the holidays, eat well, and if you happen to run out of rice, I know someone who just may be able to barter and get you one last scoop of the crispy.


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