Sunday, May 11, 2008

(Kinda) Liveblogging the Survivor: Fans vs. Favourites finale

Preface: The family Mother's day celebration being complete, I can get to watching the Survivor finale. In lieu of an actual post about the final four, I'll talk about it here instead. If you haven't seen Thursday's episode yet, stop reading now.

First, when I read Jeff Probst's quote about somebody taking James' title as dumbest Survivor ever, I thought it was referring to either Ozzy or Jason not playing the hidden immunity idol. And with the tease of Thursday's tribal council being the most shocking ever, I still assumed it to be hyperbole. How mistaken I was.

I never thought I'd see the day that somebody would give up the immunity necklace without some sort of back up to ensure that they would not get voted out. But Erik has completed what can never be topped as the stupidest move ever in Survivor history (that's right, I'm knocking Brandon from Survivor 3 out of the top spot). You can possibly keep Natalie in the game, but it will cost you immunity? Sorry Natalie, time for you to go. Instead, he gave up immunity and every other Survivor could not contain their shock and laughter.

Which brings us to the final four. This is by far the toughest four to call. Cirie should win with all things being equal. The plays that she has made to get rid of Ozzie, Jason and Erik (by first suggesting to get the necklace off of him) have been brilliant. But has the jury seen that she has made the moves? Amanda is next, as she set Alexis up, and she is probably the biggest physical threat remaining. Parvati has actually won an immunity challenge, and did grow the initial Cirie/Parv/Amanda alliance to include Alexis and Natalie to dominate the jury portion of the game. And Natalie was the biggest factor to get Erik to drop the necklace to her. Who wins this? I have no clue, but I think it is in this order:

1. Amanda
2. Cirie
3. Natalie
4. Parvati

And now, off to the show! (No timestamps because it's too hard to figure out what time I'm actually at. I'll denote commercial breaks though.)

First commercial: We saw a recap of what happened, then a celebration by the women. Nothing of note.

- Cirie is up early. She, Amanda and Parv celebrate. Cirie even mocks the men.

- Parvati climbs the trees and chops up some coconuts. She hasn't missed the men and them trying to look cool around the girls.

- Parv compliments Natalie on her ability to convince people to do what she wants. Natalie has a bond wiht Parvati, and Parvati keeps on complimenting her.

- Natalie trusts her, which could be a problem here.

- Treemail, which seems to be about a climbing competition. They seem to think it's for immunity.

- The course is quite the impressive structure.

- I'm not going to explain this, other to say it's a combination of two old immunity challenges from pervious years.

- Natalie is off to a quick start.

- Natalie is first off, then Parvati. Amanda and Cirie are struggling.

-Amanda and Cirie have their keys, while Natalie and Parvati build theirs.

- Amanda has caught up and is now way ahead of everybody.

- Amanda messes up, but figures it out for the immunity win~!

Commercial break: Obviously, the Parvati/Natalie stuff is setting up Parvati's decision: betray her initial alliance, or betray Natalie. We'll see how much of an issue this becomes.

(In an unrelated note, I can't wait for the Million Dollar Pyramid.)

- We come back to discussion of the immunity challenge. Cirie teases that Amanda only beat her because Amanda's legs are so long.

- Amanda notes that she's final three again, and this time she played her game completely different, and even better.

- Natalie is going to "explore all of options", and she has to be calm, cool and collected to stay in the game.

- Komodo Dragon/Snake imagery.

- Natalie talks to Cirie. Cirie asks if Natalie has promised her vote to anybody. Natalie thinks Cirie is nervous about jury votes.

- Meanwhile, Parvati and Amanda are worried about Cirie winning in the jury vote. And they seem to be talking themselves into getting rid of Cirie.

- Natalie tells Parvati that Cirie is freaking out. Parvati seems to be accepting of Natalie's pitch.

- Cirie talks about getting the boot in a confessional. Midway through she pauses and they cut to a shot of Natalie and Parvati walking along with each other. Good editing there.

- Tribal council. Maybe this will explain the 3 Tribal Councils part of the promo.

- Here comes the jury. Erik is clean shaven and a bit depressed. Natalie smiles at him and gives him a thumbs up as he walks by. Geez.

- All smiling at him (Amanda with her sad puppy eyes).

- Natalie claims that there isn't going to be a blindside here. Which nobody believes. She tries to sell that she is going tonight.

- Amanda says she thinks she knows what is going to happen this tribal council, but she can't be certain. (The correct answer was "Jeff I know that I'm not going to be voted out tonight." But that might cause Erik not to vote for you.)

- Parvati sums up this season well by calling it "the craziest, messiest, most stategic game of Survivor ever". She can't read anybody's mind so she's just thinking for herself.

- Jeff introduces the notion of a final 2, Amanda can't believe there would be a final 2, and that would mess things up.

- Cirie doesn't want a final 2 because she would be at the bottom of that alliance again. Which has Amanda asking when Cirie thought she was ever at the bottom of an alliance. Cirie says initially when the alliance of 5 was James, Ozzy, Amanda, Cirie and Parvati Ozzy wanted everybody but Cirie to be the final 4, which put her on the bottom. Amanda asks about after the merge, and Cirie says obviously Amanda and Parvati won't vote for each other. Meanwhile, Natalie smiles.

- Which Jeff calls her out on. Natalie calls it an opportunity.

- After Jeff asks Amanda if she's giving the necklace up, they cut to Erik. MEAN!

- Natalie or Cirie, that is the question. No hearing of the voiceover whatsoever. Amanda is smiling and staring that the jury. Cirie?

- Votes:

- Cirie
- Natalie
- Natalie
- Natalie

Wow, they stayed together. I'm actually shocked. Jeff says nothing about them going to the jury vote next, so is the final two still in play?

Natalie is not bitter about getting the boot, which is refreshing, to say the least.

Commercial break: I really don't think that anybody is going to be bitter on this jury, because I think that everybody is willing to acknowledge that you might get betrayed for somebody else to win. And if you're in the final tribal council, things had to work out well for you.

- Rehash of Cirie and Amanda's argument. Amanda accuses Cirie of making them look horrible in front of the jury.

- Cirie brings the final 5 back into the equation saying "If you and Ozzy are snuggled up and Parvati and James are snuggled up, how am I supposed to feel?" I dunno, like the swing vote so a final 2 alliance can get to the final 2 (if it exists?) Come on Cirie, smarten up! Your final 3 logic is much better.

- Amanda eventually breaks down and starts crying and everybody is almost happy. She's been doing it for far too long (from China straight to this).

- Parvati says that there is no way there is a final 2, and Cirie says don't say that Parv, you've always been wrong when she says that.

- They set their chicken free (after talking about letting her meet the rooster). The chicken doesen't want to leave, of course. Amanda asks where the food is.

- They get a paddle for treemail, and the treemail mentions they will honour the fallen 17 before COMPETING IN THE FINAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE! I had to pause the show to type this, and the look on Cirie's face is AWESOME! Parvati says out loud that her heart just dropped.

- Amanda is crushed. This is not good for her chances of winning this final immunity challenge. How the hell are they going to do an 8 person jury? Tie vote?

- Cirie calls it poetic since they've been blindsiding people left and right, and then they were blindsided with this.

- Parvati and Amanda are crushed. Parv says she needs to regroup.

- Parvati feels humbled. But the honouring the fallen will bring things back into perspective.

- Cirie can't feel bad. She will tip her cap to the others and say good job, but she beat them.

- Johnny Fairplay refers to himself as the "Cerebral Assassin of Survivor", keeping the wrestling links for himself alive.

- Joel calls his Survivor experience a failure because he wasn't there at the end.

- Chet claims that he outlasted everybody who was praised for their athletic strength, their agility, etc. Has Chet heard of Ozzy, James, Jason and Erik?

- Amanda calls Ozzy the most well-rounded player in Survivor ever, which means she never saw Thailand (Brian) or Palau (Tom). At least Parvati saves it by singing "And you like him," then saying "You can carry his torch."

- Ozzy says that his relationship with Amanda was worth more than any amount of money. I, of course, call bullshit on this, unless Amanda wins and splits the money with him.

- Erik says he's learned something about how women operate.

- The Exile Island tower burns, and off they go to the final immunity challenge.

Commercial break: Every time I say I'm going to fast forward through the honour the fallen segment, and I never do.

On to the challenge: Cirie wins or is out. If she wins, Amanda is probably out.

- Final challenge time. They have to balance a ball inbetween two sticks. Or something like that. This time, I don't think there's a way for Amanda to out game everybody (like the last immunity challenge in China, when she was turning bowls upside down to balance them better).

- Ah, Jeff laying out what the winner gets. I've missed the 'choose your opponent' aspect.

- I'm excited about a final 2! Especially if it's a tie vote.

- They have 5 minute rounds, then add cylinders to the two sticks to make it difficult. There's also a groove in the middle cylinder. Cirie's cylinders are perfectly even. Amanda's aren't, neither are Parvati's.

- Jeff is awesome in talking. You can just feel the competitors wanting to yell "SHUT UP JEFF" at him.

- Parvati is first out, which surprises me slightly. Cirie and Amanda look over, but don't lose concentration.

- A note about the "sticks". They are apparently two ends of a spear, which is awesome!

- Amanda is holding the contraption from underneath, while Cirie is holding them over the top. Jeff just notices this, even though Amanda did it last time.

- Cirie falls while Jeff is counting down to set up, so she can set up again.

- Amanda is shaky. Cirie is not. Last round goes until somebody falls. Amanda is back to overhand, but here construction doens't look so good. Cirie looks like she is golden here.

- Of course, as I type this, Cirie drops it and Amanda wins. Cirie knows that she has lost a million dollars.

Commercial break: Is that Cirie leaving tribal council in the "Life at Ponderosa" promo?

(Unrelated note: America's Greatest Dog? This is the best you can come up with CBS?)

- The chicken does not want to leave, which is a metaphor for these final 3, I'm sure.

- Cirie thought she could win, and expects to leave. We get a nice view of Parvati walking away.

- Amanda is in an awkward position, and Parvati doesn't help by saying that Cirie wouldn't beat Parvati in a final 2.

- Cirie sells the same thing that Parvati was talking about, but Amanda isn't completely buying it, saying that Cirie is a hell of a talker. Is this really that hard of a decision? Do you think the jury is that pissed off at you? Don't screw this up by overthinking like you tend to Amanda. Just vote Cirie out and win this game.

- Amanda does not want to do this. Cirie and Parvati both do not envy Amanda. The key thing here (beyond Amanda being at tears), is that Amanda has made a decision. (And Eliza wants to punch Amanda because of her tears.)

- Here comes the vote. I'm predicting 3 minutes of crying before writing down a name. And seriously, Eliza is just bitter and is going to vote for whoever faces Amanda.

- They don't show 3 minutes of Amanda crying, so I'm going to assume that I'm right.

- Wouldn't this be the best time for the "oops, I voted for the person who I wanted to stay" ploy? No? Okay.

- Cirie is gone. but she's not bitter. James, on the other hand, looks angry. Natalie and Parvati are like giddy schoolgirls, I guess thinking that Parvati has it in the bag.

Commercial break: Hot chick final 2! Other than that, please let Amanda not choke in final tribal council again.

- Parvati says that she and Amanda pretty well own this game. Amanda made it to the end of China, Parvati "almost" made it to the end of Cook Islands (final 5, IIRC). The food is here and they are celebrating. Parvati is dancing, which is always a good time.

- Amanda contrasts their games: Amanda was loyal to her alliances, Parvati did what she had to in order to advance herself.

- Hey, it's Burning Man!

- Parvati says her game was more agressive than Amanda. Parvati says that her best option for tonight is to own that she played the game her way, and did throw things out.

- Final tribal council time. Criminy, Eliza looks like she wants to cut somebody. Alexis looks pretty but just happy to be there. Speaking of happy to be there, it's opening statement time:

Amanda wanted to play a loyal game and she wouldn't be there without the jury's help, so she thanks them.

Parvati has a previous reputation as the flirt (James looks non-plussed by this). She knows she had to play different. Parvati points at Ozzy saying that she was given a run for her money, but here she is. Ask her anything you want and you'll get an honest answer (kiss of death, this).

Commercial break

-Eliza up first for the questioning. She compliments both of their strategic gameplay, but doesn't know who she's going to vote for. Parvati and Eliza spent 20 days together, she respects her move to get rid of Ozzy, but she can't respect everything that she did that was not necessary for strategic advancement in this game. Talking about Eliza behind her back, made fun of her. It will be difficult to give her vote to Parvati. Amanda is congratulated as well, but listening to her speak made Eliza literally want to kill herself. She doesn't think she can vote for somebody who's so superficial (oh come on now). More rambling ensues - her vote is absolutely not determined, etc. And then there's no question?!?! You haven't made up your mind but you have no question? Vamp much?

You know, if I haven't made a decision, I want to get as much information as possible. If I'm presented with an opportunity to get more information, I'm going to take it. Apparently that's not Eliza the future lawyer's way though. She seemed to miss the part of class where they learned about examining a witness and skipped right to the closing arguments section.

- Parvati just rolled her eyes. I might want Amanda to win, but quite honestly, if she doesn't it's still cool.

- Jason up next. Question for Amanda: When Ozzy was voted out, if you were let in on the plan, would you have told Ozzy? (Fantastic question, FWIW). Amanda says yes. Parvati: Jason has had misconceptions of her being a deceivious player. What has been some of her redeeming qualities in the game? Parvati was very protective of her alliance with Cirie and Amanda, so protectiveness and loyalty to the ladies she gave her loyalty to. (Alexis does not seem thrilled by this answer.) They didn't kill the chicken (Gloria). This amuses Jason.

- Alexis's turn. Parvati: What makes you a better role model for young girls than Amanda? She's more outspoken, so she's more independent. Amanda would go with the flow (this causes Amanda to shoot a glance at Parvati). Parvati puts herself out there and made bold moves, which she didn't see from Amanda. This makes her a better role model. Amanda: Is accused of being ingenuine. Amanda protests, but uh yeah, Alexis is voting for Parvati. (So this time the jury is going to screw over Amanda? Bullshit.)

- Natalie: Respect woman to women. Parvati: She's labelled herself as a flirt. How does that resonate into the bedroom? WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?! James says "I'm confused." Jeff has to jump in and ask if Parvati knows what Natalie is asking. Natalie clarifies by saying that Parvati is a flirt and flirted with her (!) How does being a flirt parallel with her sexual life? (Somebody check if Eliza's taking notes to factor this into her decision.) (We see Eliza. She is not.) Parvati says being a flirt is a huge part of her personality. At home it gets her what she wants (maybe Alexis is now not voting for Parvati?) It is an old standby.

Amanda...okay I can't do this justice. Something about was Amanda's strategy to be the cliched zombie beauty queen I don't know what's going on look (you know, some would call it deer in the headlights, but what do I know). Or is this who she is as a person? Amanda says it's neither. She wanted to compete with the guys and she didn't want anything given to her. (Point out how you want the final 4 and final 3 immunity challenges - easy out.)

- Erik's turn. 5-6 days ago he would have been voting for Amanda in this situation (gee, I wonder where this is going). He really respected her, but now he has questions. She says that everything she said was true and he was not loyal to her, even trying to get him voted out (which is the case, of course), but she's sorry. Erik's bitter and says it's too late. Aaaand, he's good. WTF? Parvati is going to win 5-3 because Erik's feelings were hurt EVEN THOUGH HIS ACTIONS DIRECTLY LEAD TO HIS OUTSTER? MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE IMMUNITY NECKLACE YOU STUPID JACKASS! YOU LOST THE RIGHT TO BE BITTER WHEN YOU TOOK YOUR FATE OUT OF YOUR HANDS AND LEFT IT IN CIRIE AND NATALIE'S! SHUT UP!

- James's finger is alright. He's going to let Parvati redo the conversation, and after Parvati thinks that James wants her to gloat, she does. James then says just be honest, and then she was, saying that if she stuck with Ozzy and James, she would not have been in the final 2. And it gave her control. BTW, Amanda is choking yet again in the final 2.

- Cirie is here and hopefully her question can save Amanda. Why Parvati deserves a million dollars more than Cirie? Parvati played a bold, agressive game and stuck by that game and she respects that. And it goes downhill from there for Amanda. Cirie asks if that means that Amanda did not respect Cirie's game. Amanda quickly back pedals (and Alexis gets all shocked - please). Amanda says that she thinks that Parvati made bolder decisions in the game than Cirie did. She then says that she thought that Parvati was the powerhouse in making the moves (too much there - hope you enjoy your million Parvati, because Amanda has learned nothing from China).

Parvati gets asked why Parvati should be in the jury and Cirie should be in her seat. (Most interesting answer that Parvati could give: Because Amanda would stand a better chance of winning a million dollars. This is also an interesting question because Cirie is leading Parvati to possibly build herself up at the expense of Amanda, while Amanda's question was to build up Parvati at the expense of Cirie. Quite the pecking order set up.)

Parvati says that Cirie played a brilliant game that was a bit under the radar. (If Cirie points out that the Ozzy outster was her idea, the Erik outster was her idea and the Alexis outster was Amanda's idea, this could throw things into chaos.) Parvati says that she can't compete with a mother of three, bringing the need idea into play, which is just annoying. She asks if that answer was good enough, and Cirie just says that she will ponder over in the jury area.

Ozzy to finish it up (I think. Wait, maybe Eliza is going to call for redirect after Ozzy is done.) Ozzy declares that he might be the biggest idiot there. He says that he never, in a million years, thought that "you" could do that. "You" put a price on our friendship. "You" threw us away like garbage. How can "you" say that you are a role model when you can throw a valuable friendship away just like that (Eliza, James and Jason are pleased by this). But he doesn't want words. "I don't. Want. To talk to you." The hardest part for Ozzy was that "you" took away 14 days that he could have been spending with Amanda. (If this ends in a marriage proposal, I'm going to puke.) He slaps himself then addresses Amanda.

When he told Amanda on the beach after she asked him if he was playing her he was being honest when he said no. He's having feelings that he never had before. he thinks he's started to fall in love with her. He's glad he didn't win Cook Island so he could be there and meet her (she is absolutely beaming). No final statements, so the jurors get a minute to make their decision.

Commercial break: I'm thinking it's 5-3 for Parvati. Amanda gets James, Ozzy and Jason. Parvati gets Eliza, Alexis, Natalie, Cirie and Erik.

- Cirie up first to vote, then Erik, who votes for Amanda (?). He's willing to forgive and forget if she's willing to forgive and forget. She played a good game. (Jason votes for Parvati for the 5-3 win?) Alexis votes for Parvati (shocking!), saying that she is going to do amazing things with the money (really?). Natalie votes for Parvati. Ozzy votes for Amanda, saying that she deserves it
"A million times more" than Parvati.. James votes, then Eliza has to decide and she can't. That's it. Off Jeff goes to get the votes, and off he goes until the reunion.

And here they are all dolled up. The crowd seems muted, but here comes Jeff and they are much happier. Jeff is rocking a bit longer hair. (Amanda and Parvati are looking good.) Jeff says that the word on the street is this is the best season (except for the first). Votes:

Parvati (Alexis' vote)
Amanda (Don't know who's vote)
Parvati (Don't know who's vote)
Amanda (Ozzy's vote)
Parvati (Natalies vote)
Amanda
Parvati

Jeff says here's where we stand: if this vote is for Amanda we have a tie. If it's for Parvati we have a winner. What happens if it's a tie?

Doesn't matter because Parvati wins. Amanda chokes again in the clutch. This is the most subdued victory celebration ever, probably because Parvati is still in shock.

- I honestly don't think that Parvati thought she was going to win.

Commercial break: This should have been Amanda's slam dunk win. Here's your points: You brought Parvati over Cirie because Cirie would easily defeat you. Parvati didn't deserve the million dollars over Cirie; that wasn't your decision to make. You had to determine who the jury would think deserved the million dollars more, you or Cirie or you or Parvati. Parvati's bold moves were Cirie's idea first, she just went along with it and is now trying to take credit for it. You won immunity in the final four and final three, while Parvati didn't even come close. You wanted this more, and your proved it by winning when it mattered and keeping your fate in your hands. You had to make the important decision. Done and win a million dollars (or at least force a tie).

(No recap of the reunion show because I'm tired.)

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