Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Survivor San Juan del Sur Final Episode thoughts

Hello, and welcome to this post about the final episode of Survivor: San Juan del Sur (Blood vs. Water 2.) Tomorrow I will give you thoughts about the season in general, but tonight, it's about the finale.

(Note: these thoughts are written as the show went on.)

Final 5

The reward challenge produced one of the best advantages that Survivor has ever given out. It was a giant advantage for Keith, and did win him the challenge by being able to practice, but at the same time it could have been overcome if one of the others picked up how to handle the balls, or if Keith couldn't get it even after all that practice.

With that said, Keith made a dumb decision by sending Jacqulyn to Exile. It should have been Natalie. That way, he could have worked on Baylor/Missy/Jacqulyn so that he can stick around instead of Natalie (not knowing that Natalie had an immunity idol.) Sending Jacqulyn away doesn't change the game at all for him - he needs to win out on immunity to make it to final three. With Natalie out of the way, he might have been able to flip the script.

Instead, Natalie chose to flip the script. She thought that Baylor would have made Missy's final 3 argument stronger. That has some sense to it, in that Missy could argue that she was playing for 2 and now has herself and Baylor at final tribal. But there's the filpside, which is that Missy and Baylor could have split votes, or been seen as a single entity (a la Parvarti and Russell in Heroes vs. Villains.) What might have flipped it is that Missy and Baylor could force a tie at final 4, and there's nothing Natalie could do about it. Essentially, Missy and Baylor would decide who was going to get voted out, whether by actual vote out, or by winning a fire building challenge. And by Natalie saving Jacqulyn, she demonstrates to the jury another big power move, and to Jacqulyn she demonstrates loyalty, which could be helpful if Natalie had to vote out Missy.

What would have been awesome is if Jacqulyn had voted for Natalie. That would have been the biggest move in Survivor ever.

Final 4

"She who wears the necklace has all the power." When exactly did Survivor become Big Brother? Jacqulyn is one vote. She doesn't hold all the power?

With that said, Jacqulyn woke up to the true problem with the final 4 she is in - Natalie and Keith are both in a position to win versus her. So she had to figure out exactly who is the bigger threat to win the game. She thought it would be Keith, which is defensible, but I don't think it's right. Natalie laid out that she had made the biggest move in the game. The jury knows it. Keith might have the inside track to Alex's vote (as well as having Wes's), but Natalie has Jeremy locked up, and her gameplay gives her the greatest edge to get Josh and Reed's votes. Not to mention that Keith might feel loyal to Natalie for saving him at final 6. That's a tough mountain to climb for Jacqulyn, and one that she could have avoided by flipping the script and voting for Natalie.

(And even if Missy decided to vote for Keith, you can make the vote 2-2 and go to fire making.)

"Everybody loves firemen" then a VICIOUS CUT to Jeremy brooding. Thank you again Survivor editors. (And also for another slack jawed Alex shot.)

Final 3

You know, I'm one of the few people who liked the Fallen Comrades portion of the final episode, where they go back and take all of the name plates off of the people voted out, reminisce about them, hen burn the name plates. But this year I miss it even more, if only because I wanted to hear what everybody would say about John Rocker. Would Natalie call him a racist homophobe again Would somebody break ranks and say something nice about him? Thanks for taking that away from me CBS.

Final Tribal, and Missy compares the jury's decision to an actual jury's decision in a murder case, calling them the same in impact. Look, I know what you were going for Missy, but let's stay away from hyperbole. (Also, a bad choice to say that what the jury decides will affect the rest of your life. It's probably going to affect the rest of Natalie's and Jacqulyn's life as well.)

"My deal is loyalty, from beginning to end." You were involved in the Jeremy and Jon blindsides. That's not a great thing to bring up.

Jacqulyn is actually going to play "I can't have kids" card to this jury? What she has to go through with not being able to have children herself is terrible, but are Wes, Alex (and Keith for that matter) your target audience for understanding and sympathy? 

Alex might legitimately be a mouth breather. That's the only explanation for his slack jawedness, unless they dope him up before he goes to tribal council.

Natalie starts out by saying that she made risky moves on her own. Um, I think you mean that you didn't have a loved one to stand by you, but it didn't come out that way. And don't mention how often you went to Exile, unless you went each and every time.

Throwing down the gauntlet by saying that you should have been voted out at final 4 is pretty strong though Natalie.

Jon starts out the questions with a strong question, asking Jacqulyn what big move she made that she was solely responsible for, and how did it affect the final 3. And Jacqulyn came up with the strongest answer she could - choosing to vote out Josh. By explaining that she would have been at the bottom of the Josh/Reed/bros alliance, she also gave herself a bit of an arch as to how she got to the final 3.

(At this point I feel a need to confess that I'm probably misspelling Jacqulyn's name. For that I amtruly sorry and I will likely correct it at some point.)

Keith asks Natalie "how does it feel that the last words were a lie?" He was not thrilled about being lied to and did not really accept that Natalie felt she had to lie to him.

Alex basically asks Natalie the exact same question that Jon asked Jacqulyn. Like I think he forgot his question and then heard Jon's and went, "Yeah, that's a good one." Natalie is smart enough to say that it was voting out Alex, which is what he wanted to hear. Oh Alex, you can't even hold a candle to Jean-Robert's self absorption.) 

Oh, more Alex questions. Asking Missy how she was the mother in the game. Directed votes, yadda yadda, yadda, built trust, etc.

Baylor is so proud of the final three y'al! And she talks to her mom and relates playing the game to what they've been through, including a terrible analogy.

YAY JOSH! Jacqulyn gets asked if she made it on the strength of her own merits, or if choice made by stronger players made it happen. The correct answer is a difficult one - admit that she was obviously saved by Natalie at final 5, but then point out that she made the decision to vote Josh out, and she made the decision to vote Jeremy out, and she was the one that had to eventually bring Jon back on board during their big fight. Maybe even point out that she told Jon to play his idol at final 6, but he had trust in his alliance that stabbed him in the back.

What she actually said was that she and Jon talked about everything, which wasn't going to satisfy Josh. So he asks the same question that Jon did - could you give us one move that was solely your move? That's a bullshit question Josh, because she took credit for your vote out and Jon agreed. If you call that a "group" move, then any move is a group move because it involves getting more than one person on board to complete it (unless you have a hidden immunity idol and everybody votes for you.) And she sticks with it, saying that her move was voting Josh out, and it was her idea. I don't know if Josh accepts it, but he seemed satisfied enough.

Wes wants to know what it was like to play with your loved one (awkward because Natalie is right there.) 

(BTW, the way this jury has gone, I think they're looking for a reason to vote for Jacqulyn, which is odd.) Natalie gets to bring up that she hadn't been away from Nadiya from

Jeremy is a student of the game and he likes big moves. So vote for Natalie. (That's a quarter David.)

Reed is last and he loves watching Natalie game. Reed loved getting to know Jacqulyn. And now here comes the "snake and rat" moment of Final Tribal. She says that Missy cast herself as the mother figure, but everybody will see that she was the wicked step mother. She spoiled her children (not sure how that's a wicked step mother) and she took things she wasn't entitled to. She "gave her children extra rice?" This coming from the guy who's tribe bartered with Jeff Probst to get more rice? C'mon man. The rest was worthy of a Broadway actor who wanted to prove he had panache and could sell a scene. 

(If you're going to do a rant like that, at least bring it to Goldsmith-ian levels. You'll never reach Hawk-ian levels unless you truly hate the person and are not concerned about looking good on TV.)

And Reed is now proud of his speech, which crushed Baylor. Good job?

So it looks like the votes are going to go this way:

Natalie gets Jeremy and Reed.  Probably Alex, possibly Josh. She probably doesn't get Keith
Jacqulyn gets Jon and probably Keith.
Missy get Baylor.

Wes I have no clue.

So Natalie wins, probably 5-2-1, or maybe 4-3-1.

This runover is terrible. Too many cutaways, obviously (Did we need Jeff with the random fans saying they don't miss an episode?)

Reed voted for Jacqulyn? Um, what? What? No seriously, what? 

Might my 4-3-1 involve Jacqulyn getting Reed's vote, and Natalie getting Keith's?

(In reconsidering the runover, I don't know if there's that much to discuss.)

Jaclyn - Jon's vote
Natalie - Jeremy's vote
Jaclyn - Reed's vote
Missy - Baylor's vote
Natalie
Natalie
Natalie

The best player won this season, though she had help from Jon being a fool and trusting her too much. But that's nitpicking. She was the one who played the best game, and if she didn't win it might have actually knocked this season even lower on the season rankings (coming soon!)

BONUS CUTAWAY DISCUSSION

(Because this is obviously important.)

Jeff's first cutaway was the most awkward by far. Didn't we learn our lesson last year about Jeff talking to little children live on the finale? Nothing good can come from it, unless you enjoy awkward exchanges. And who has bacon and eggs for breakfast, then a burger and fries for lunch, and spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner in a typical day?

After all that, the segment with Austin (the Make a Wish child) was great, if only for the ending. His "You're welcome" for the challenge he designed was great.

Also fun as the segment with Keith after tribal, and then Keith's wife.

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