Monday, December 19, 2011

Survivor Season 23 Finale

This is it, your final Official Survivor: South Pacific Recap Trilogy for Season 23. Each one us will be concentrating on a specific portion of the 3-hour extravaganza.

Mary Beth’s 2Cents – Finale Recap:

With all the drama and splendor of a Hollywood blockbuster, the last episode of this season of Survivor began. First, Jeff Probst narrated a moving recap of the game thus far. Then, with drums swelling in the background, we were treated to a montage of notable quotes from this season, which finally led into the last episode. The prelude was appropriate because this was a quite good and very dramatic season.

Right away there was business to be done and we were quickly swept off to the Redemption Island challenge. This time it was for keeps – the loser went to the jury and the winner would get sent back into the tribe. It was Ozzy vs. Brandon, as they had to hang from a post for what seemed like an eternity.

Frankly, it pained me to watch this. The foothold they were given was a mere quarter of an inch thick and their toes were being twisted in some truly unnatural ways. Brandon gave it his all and there was a moment where Ozzy almost lost it but gravity and mangled feet worked against Brandon and he fell. Ozzy was headed back to the game having survived the longest time at Redemption ever!

Ozzy's presence at camp seemed to send everyone into a tizzy. Albert started “strategizing” which, for him, meant talking to everyone about anything and making no sense at all. Sophie stated her loathing of Ozzy and that led Ozzy to spill the beans on Coach to Rick.

Then something really weird happened. RICK SPOKE! I swear I'm not making this up! There were actual words coming out of his mouth! So… off they all go to the first Immunity Challenge.

In this challenge, they had to hold onto a pulley that made a plank balance and on that plank they had to build a house of wooden cards. Not as easy as it looked. Sophie got a little cocky when she told them she built houses of cards at home in her free time and even had a book on how to make them. My, what an interesting hobby… (Insert sarcasm here).

Anyway, Sophia was building a great card house but didn't have enough to make it high enough because of her fancy-shmancy design. Then she knocked it all down and started demanding that Albert leave his and come over there to pick up hers! Excuse me? What? Not sure what she was thinking but he didn't listen to her anyway. Ozzy managed to build a house high enough and did a little happy dance when he won.

At tribal Ozzy called Sophie a big whiney brat, which made her break down into uncontrollable sobbing for a while. She pulled it together. So, it was bye bye Rick who wouldn't give Coach a hug on the way out. Boo hoo.

Then there were four. Ozzy, Albert, Coach and Sophie. Off to the last challenge… the one that counts and this one was a DOOZY! It was a ginormous flower shaped obstacle course and they had to run through it to collect bags of puzzle pieces and then put that puzzle together.

Oz was off to a quick and steady lead followed closely by Sophie. Albert, for whatever reason, kept choosing the exact same path as Sophie which made no sense because he had to keep losing time waiting for her. It's not like there wasn't other areas or paths he could have taken. Like I said, this thing was huge!

Coach floundered around like so much tumbleweed. He couldn't get it together. I thought he almost got stuck in a mesh tunnel at one point. So head to head, Ozzy and Sophie were at the puzzle pieces and once Sophie figured out the first piece there was no looking back. Ozzy tried to cheat off her table but in the end, Sophie won the last immunity.

So, it was back to Tribal Council. Ozzy, knowing full well his fate was sealed, actually took it all in good stride when he was voted off. I have to give it the Oz man. He did give it a good fight and made this season interesting. But I still can't stand him.

So, at the end of the day, it was Coach, Sophie and Albert sitting on the hot seats and facing “THE JURY”! (Music swells, distant tribal drums, and a beautiful island sun setting behind them. Ha! Okay that really didn't happen!)

The Booth’s Bits – Final Tribal Council Recap:

The Final Tribal Council began with each of the three finalists making an opening statement. Traditionally not much is said during this segment and tonight was no different. Sure, Albert blasphemed, talking about a “higher power” and the overly pompous Coach pontificated which caused eyes in the jury to roll, but basically it was blah, blah, blah.

Then came the part of the Finale that I look forward to most – the jury taking their shots at the finalists.

Ozzy led off by basically reaming each of them out. He told Sophie she was a spoiled brat and then told Albert he did nothing to deserve being there. Ozzy gave Coach credit for using his experience to get to the finals and then called him out about being a “Christian man” playing with honor. This would be a reoccurring theme.

Jim was up next and he asked Albert why the other two didn’t deserve to win. Albert spewed some nonsense about how he and Sophie carried Coach to the finals. Really, Albert?

Dawn asked Sophie what her strategy was. Sophie explained that she wished she was a guy because the guy always picked two young unassuming girls that he could go to the finals with and that is why she picked Coach. She said he fit that criteria. Huh? Did Sophie just call Coach a chick?

Cowboy Rick’s line of questioning made it quite clear that he was pissed. He accused Albert of stabbing him in the back and yelled at Sophie until she almost started crying. Again. He did make Coach apologize after bashing him for claiming to be a man of honor.

In my opinion, the troubled Brandon was the star of the Final Tribal Council. He pretty much left the overly sensitive Sophie alone, concentrating on the way Coach and Albert used God to advance them in the game. His best moment came when he beat down Albert, forcing him to give a yes or no answer to a question about lying.

The lovely Whitney was straight and to the point, not bothering to ask any questions. She told Albert that he was sleazy and told Coach that he used his “Christianity” in a less than honorable way. She then told Sophie she was the most condescending person she had ever met. This made Sophie blubber. Again.

Edna didn’t ask any questions either as she continued the using of the “Christianity” theme. Only, she used big words and impressive phrases like, “inherit ingredient” and “the best way to manipulate is through religious intimidation.” She talked real good.

Pretty boy Keith asked Coach why he never used the Hidden Immunity Idol. In the middle of Coach’s feeble attempt at an answer, Sophie interrupted and pretty much threw him under the bus. Well, at least she wasn’t weeping…

The final juror to speak was the nebbish Cochran, who also chose to focus his attention on Coach. The subject of playing with honor and being a “Christian man”, once again surfaced. I have to give Cochran credit; he had Coach begging for forgiveness when he was done with him. I wonder if Coach’s religion has confession?

With the interrogation was completed, all that was left was the final vote for season 23. Who did the jury award the $1,000,000 to? Was it Sophie? Was it Albert? Or was it Coach. Only God knew. And Jeff Probst.

Jamie’s Prognosis – The Results and Reunion Show Recap:

Does anyone remember the days when Jeff Probst used to make a dramatic exit from tribal council? He would pretend to hop on a helicopter and then flash forward to presumably the same helicopter dropping him off at the reunion show moments later, where the cast would be sitting around the campfire awaiting him like he had just stepped out for a bathroom break.

And then we viewers at home would say, ”Oh wait, they are all clean and have gained thirty pounds what the? YES it was schmaltzy over the top drama, but now Probst just grabs the voting urn and bustles through some fake shrubbery. I liked the drama. And hey… when did Survivor get it’s own band?

Yet again I digress. So tonight’s episode showed a cleaned up fattened up final three - “Hall of Famer” Coach Benjamin Wade, Albert and Sophie. OK, here is where my personal bias jumps in. Ya’ll know by now that I love Coach. I haven’t deviated from that one iota all season. 

Sophie may have won more immunity challenges, but her social game was poor. Answer this question honestly. You are at a party, whom do you want to hang out with? Sophie? I think not! She is the ultimate coattail rider, and she rode on the coat tails of Coach.

Survivor is a game of physical prowess to some degree, but it is mostly a game of social skill! With all of that said, much to my dismay and surprise, Sophie won Survivor. I can only assume this was a major case of sour grapes on the part of the jury because really none of them seemed to like her bossy self.

As Paul’s astute Aunt Janet said; Sophie is not a good representative of the female player. And she needs to know that it’s important to shave and accessorize well when one is on TV. Enough said. She doesn’t need my advice or criticism. She just won a million bucks AND she’s a medical student.

The winner of the $100,000 fan fave prize went to Ozzy. What followed was a long and uncomfortable diatribe in which Ozzy extolled the virtues of Ozzy. Could this guy be any more full of self-love? DUDE you are a surfer, which to me means you are unemployed.

You recently sported a set of pigtails that would make Pippi Longstockings AND Cindy Brady jealous! And you’ve done porn on the Playboy channel! You can swing from trees and live off the land like nobody else. I will give you that. But as a human being, you’re kind of a shmuck. You’re going to blow through that hundred grand in no time flat, and then guess what?  Surf’s up Oz. 

The next player that Probst focused on in the Reunion Show was Cochran. This guy has a serious love of Survivor that may have extended above and beyond what we viewers at home knew. Apparently he even wrote a paper at Harvard that compares the Survivor jury system to our American jury system. 

I was a fan of Cochran as he played the game. I thought he would have gone farther with all of his Survivor knowledge and intelligence (he is NOT nebbish PV)! But as I said before, Survivor is a social game and he was up against it from day one.

Probst asked him during the show if he had found a girlfriend and he said no and encouraged anyone interested to “just come at me”.  I hope he finds love, and he should.  After all, this is a world in which the Kardashians have their own TV show. Anything is possible Cochran.

This season, Probst didn’t even bother talking to the back row. He pointed out that Keith and Whitney were now dating (say it with me “awwwwww…”) I just love it when beautiful people get together!! I am sure that Papa Bear, who at breaks was hopping around the stage like a crazy person, would have loved some airtime. But he didn’t get it. 

However, Brandon Hantz did. And I finally could understand and completely sympathize with this poor lost soul. I mean, none of his family was there EXCEPT his Uncle Russell, who was basically there to criticize him. 

Probst said that he would like to see a match up between the Hantz’s. But let’s face it. There would be no match. Brandon would just give Uncle Russell his necklace and it would be a done deal.

I would like to think that in the end good overcomes evil, but I am sorry to say that in the game of Survivor this isn’t always true. Lost moment on the reunion show? Mikayla confronting stalker Brandon about his creepy behavior with her. She deserved at least one minute to let him have it!

And finally, there is my big disappointment of the evening; the fact that Coach lost. I still think that the dragon slayer played a great game. I still think that he deserved to win. He kept that alliance together and I think he deserves his own reality show! Maybe something on “E”. Before the Kardashians. Love you Coach.

At the end of the show we learned that next season we will see something exciting, groundbreaking, cutting edge, avant-garde, different, fresh, innovative, newfangled, unique, unusual.

Yes, the next season will have two tribes sharing the same island space OMG!!! February CANNOT come soon enough for me! I want to take a moment to thank my dear friend and fellow Survivor Geek Paul Vagnoni for asking me to be a guest bloggist along with Mary Beth. I’ve been a fan of his blog for a few years now, so it was quite an honor!

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There you have it! Sophie won the million and Ozzy took home the hundred grand. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Hopefully, I will have recovered by February, because that’s when Survivor: New World kicks off!

I would like to thank Mary Beth and Jamie for adding their 2Cents and Prognosis each week. It has been a blast and I look forward to doing it again. God willing, they will both join me for the 24th season. Sorry, I had to.

Until next time…from the booth.


Sue said...

Well the summary was good - and a women won ! Look forward to the next season and hopefully keeping up with each week's summary.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thanks, Sue! I look forward to having you follow Survivor through our weekly summaries. You are our number one fan in England!

Greg Turco said...

I was happy that Sophie won. I always disliked Coach, and could not have stomached a win. Ozzie was probably the people's choice because of his guts.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

I agree, Greg. At least she never played the "God" card!

Leplume said...

What a blast to write the summaries with you! Can't wait to do it again. Just watched a preview of next season - two tribes, one camp this time around. Should be interesting! I'm sure there'll be loads to write about! LOL

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

It was a blast! We're talking less than 2 months away! YES!