Survivor Fiji: Wrapup
All in all, it certainly wasn’t the greatest season of Survivor, but a very good one nonetheless. The wrapup didn’t go exactly as I’d thought (see prior post), which is good – predictability is certainly not desirable for ratings and programming, no?
My prediction that Yau-Man was in a world of trouble was definitely correct, but what I didn’t guess was that he’d win immunity – by, it turned out, a pretty sizeable margin. Way to go, Yau-Man, who clearly became everyone’s favorite by the end of the season. Just a genuinely charismatic guy who played the crap out of the game. Unfortunately, he (as he admitted in the reunion show) hurt himself in the end by not hedging his bets against the deal he made with Dreamz. You almost knew for sure when Yau and Dreamz made the deal (that Dreamz would forsake immunity if he won it in the final four and give it to Yau) that this would come into play. And though Jeff Probst said several times that the deal was that Dreamz try his hardest to win immunity, and then give it to Yau, the only part of that deal that made the air was the latter.
That’s why (after Boo was voted out in Tribal Council) it started getting interesting in the final immunity challenge when Dreamz and Yau were left. If Dreamz was going to keep his word, why not just drop out and give Yau the immunity? Dreamz claimed it was because he couldn’t wait to hand it to Yau in front of everybody, and be a good example for people. While that’s true, Yau started getting nervous – which seemed to me like the producers creating tension where there wasn’t any.
It’s one thing to lie and backstab, it’s another to take a $60,000 car while doing so. I was shocked that Dreamz decided to keep the immunity idol, but not because it was bad gameplay. At that point, though he didn’t realize it, he was already out of the chance to win $1,000,000. If he gave up the idol, he was going home almost certainly. Cassandra, who I’ll get to a little later, was clearly kept in the game to be an unappetizing choice for the other finalist(s), and Dreamz – regardless of the Yau decision – had played the game strategically enough to oust a bunch of former tribe mates. While they called it a “pity” vote, that’s a chance neither Earl nor Yau Man would have taken.
But by keeping immunity and sending Yau home (though this was partially Earl’s fault for not forcing a tie), Dreamz immediately became Enemy #1 with the jury. What he had forgotten was that this might have been the single most spiteful, immature jury ever on this show.
Lisi and Alex in particular were total embarrassments. Alex actually seemed to sniff and get choked up towards the end, as if moved to tears by the hurt and pain he felt for…being an idiot, I guess. But Lisi was just awful, insulting Cassandra’s footwear (as some type of proxy for how unserious she was about the game; even Probst seemed confused by that) and being truly shocked when Dreamz knew how many zeroes there were in a million. Talk about insulting, it bordered on racist. And for Lisi to talk about people being unprepared and unintelligent…good lord, pot please meet kettle. What a worthless contestant she was, and an admitted quitter.
So Dreamz was hopeless and Cassandra was such a bad option some jurors didn’t even talk about her, let alone TO her.
Oh, Cassandra. After she dominated the reward challenge by correctly predicting what the majority answer of her tribe mates would be on every single question, and talking actual strategy, I was all prepared to defend her as someone who didn’t “fly under the radar” or get there by being taken there instead of earning it…and then, nothing. Her tribal council “speech” was barely that, and though folks like Alex treated her like the anti-Christ, I expected more from Cassandra. Just saying, “Mmm…” and “Oh-kay…” after everything isn’t an actual strategy. And her participation in some of the immunity challenges (including two of the last three) was so bad as if to suggest she wasn’t even trying. (And for godsakes, who goes on Survivor and doesn’t know how to SWIM? Seriously, if you get cast on Survivor you do two things – one, learn to swim if you don’t already…and two, learn to make fire with something aside from flint.)
I had Lisi and Alex tagged as self-righteous speechmakers for their last moment in the spotlight, but I have to say I also thought Stacy would get in there, and she was nothing of the sort. In the reunion show she claimed that the fact all her teammates essentially told her she was not a likeable person really did change her…and while I doubt that, it certainly looked like it had some effect. Michelle was also sweet, but in a naïve, just happy to be here way that kind of let me down. What I wasn’t prepared for was Mookie trying to act tough, or Boo screaming about Christianity to Dreamz, which I’m sure had something to do with some things we never saw on camera. It was the kind of religious high-and-mighty talk that really looks ugly on the non-believers such as me. Not a good look for ya, Boo. Rocky was also pretty normal in his questioning, though he was snippy with Cassandra in a way that seemed off. I truly think that those who were kicked off the show really spent far too much time being bitter about things and got themselves in a mindset about Cassandra she was wholly unprepared for. Similarly, because of their nature, Dreamz had no shot with the jury, while he otherwise might have thought there was at least an outside chance.
On Big Brother, they show the ousted jury members in the retreat, and it has become an interesting part of that show. I’m wondering why they don’t start doing that with Survivor, as it would be pretty amusing to watch morons like Lisi and Boo think up reasons to be angry for spending a month in a lush tropical resort once they weren’t in the game any longer.
Earl makes the second consecutive winner who really has won by playing the game smartly and not ruffling too many feathers (Yul being the last person to do so.) I find it interesting that everyone talks about how that’s the challenge of Survivor, and really those are two of a very small group of people who have won this way. (Ethan from Africa might be the only other one I can remember). Everyone else left someone – or, more often, many people – furious about how they’d been treated. I think Earl’s 9-0 victory was both a reflection of his game play and a statement about Cassandra and Dreamz.
The reunion show predictably sucked; I don’t know why I ever expect it to be good, though Stacy cleaned up just as well as I thought she would. Dreamz persisted in acting as if he’d been a grandmaster of strategy…which is really BAD strategy, I should think. I expected Probst to ask people why they freaked out so much, but instead he was more focused on Dreamz, who after all was one of the more interesting players in the show.
All in all, a good finale to a very good season of the show, especially after they trashed the “rich tribe, poor tribe” fiasco that began the season.