At last, we come to the end of our “Survivor” voyage. I’d be feeling all nostalgic, except that I have three hours of ‘Survivor’ to recap.
At the beginning of Thursday’s episode, Natalie and Amanda are trying to manipulate Erik into taking them with him on the reward challenge if he wins. Erik is torn: Natalie asks him first, but Amanda makes the more convincing argument. Or looks cuter in a tube top.
Both were wise to make a play for Erik, as today’s reward challenge is “Survivor” Trivia. It is the first challenge to really give an edge to the fanboys and as a superfanboy, Erik wins easily. Per Amanda’s suggestion, he sends Parvati to Exile Island before the two of them take off for a day at a spa/resort.
At the next day’s immunity challenge, Erik kicks further ass by running around and solving puzzles. You might think he is playing an awesome game of “Survivor,” but that means overlooking that he’s got the social skills of… well, a 22-year-old dork surrounded by scantily clad women who all want something from him. Erik’s strategy of saying anything to anyone is a poor one; all the women agree that if he weren’t immune that night, he’d be going home.
And that’s when Amanda and Cirie begin encouraging Natalie to, um, “convince” Erik that he should give his immunity to her, as part of a fake master plan to vote Amanda out. Natalie thinks this sounds stupid, but when Amanda points out that Ozzy and Jason were previously this stupid, Natalie agrees to give it a shot. At first, Erik is skeptical. However, Cirie backs up Natalie by saying that Erik needs to do something nice to win favor with the jury and, if he gives up his immunity, she’ll believe he’s committed to voting out Amanda.
When the women echo all of these points at Tribal Council, Erik cows to the pressure and hands over his necklace. That’s when the jury starts laughing at him. Loudly. Poor, dumb voted-out Erik. James holds his hands up high, declaring he is no longer “the world’s dumbest ‘Survivor’.”
As the final two hours begin, I create a challenge of my own: “How long do I need to fast forward to reach new or interesting content?” The answer: 12 minutes, past a full season’s worth of clip show, followed by five minutes of the ladies gloating over kicking Erik’s scrawny ass to the curb, followed by credits, commercials and more gloating. At minute 13, Parvati climbs up a tree to get some coconuts. RIVETING TELEVISION.
The girls are bonding and we learn how Natalie needs to learn to ask for what she wants. Of course, what Natalie should ask for is immunity, because Amanda, Cirie, and Parvati’s alliance has been pretty tight from the beginning. Unfortunately, while Natalie gets a good lead on the challenge — a combination obstacle course-ladder assembly — Amanda ultimately triumphs.
You can tell Natalie’s won’t lie down and take it when they start showing B-roll of snakes and lizards. Natalie starts leaning hard on Parvati, which reveals that Parvati’s concerned about Cirie winning jury votes; meanwhile, Cirie’s concerned about Parvati and Amanda liking Natalie better.
At Tribal, the Favorites sisterhood prevails. Natalie, the last remaining member of the Fans, walks off with a resigned smile. Afterward, Amanda and Cirie get into one of those big emotional girlfights that’s all about feelings and misinterpretations before it ends in hugs. However, they’re all optimistic that this season will end in a Final Three rather than a Final Two, which means all of them would eligible for the ultimate prize.
Alas, it’s not to be: After the girls receive tree mail summoning them to their next immunity challenge, they are informed that this season is a Final Two. But first! Here’s the “salute to those who got voted out” montage which, with commercials, amounts to 15 minutes of airtime. Oh, reality TV. You’ll never change.
The final immunity challenge involves balancing a marble on top of an increasingly unstable wooden cylinder for five-minute increments. Amanda wins after Cirie chokes in the last round, but now she must choose between Cirie and Parvati and she’s heartbroken. Amanda never wanted to be in this position, you know. Yes, she worked so hard to win that last immunity challenge, but really, guys, she’s just devastated by having to choose who will compete with her to win the million bucks.
Ultimately, she chooses to stick with her BFF Parvati. Cirie walks off into the night while Amanda and Parvati have a day to tear down camp and compose their opening statements at the final Tribal Council. That’s when the wisdom of Amanda’s choice seems somewhat clear. It’s simple math: The same people hate Cirie and Amanda, while different people hate Amanda and Parvati. And Amanda is much nicer than Parvati. Well, superficially nice.
However, the picture that develops during this last Tribal Council is Amanda the faker and Parvati the flirt. Apparently, Parvati was flirting with Natalie? Natalie’s feeling jilted? What?
Meanwhile, Erik and Cirie don’t seem to be in Amanda’s camp, although Ozzy is very much Team Amanda. (You can tell when he says, “I started to fall in love with you.”)
Votes are cast, Parvati and Amanda hug and then we’re in previously recorded New York City! Jeff gets right down to business — and Parvati wins the million by two votes! That’s ballgame.
What we’ve learned from this season of “Survivor,” kids? Never give up your immunity. Try to avoid infection. And flirting trumps love, every time.