Sunday, December 20, 2009

Survivor Samoa Finale Thoughts - December 20, 2009

Tonight was the Survivor Samoa finale and it was an entertaining one. Several stories going into this finale. Would Brett continue to win challenges to keep the lone hopes for Galu alive? Would Russell continue to work his magic? Would Foa Foa be able to finish off their comeback? The answers all played out in the three hour finale including the reunion show. The episode opened up with the first immunity challenge of the show which resulted in a battle down to the wire over a puzzle between Russell and Brett. Brett wins immunity for the third time in a row. That guaranteed that a Foa Foa member would be going home. It seemed like Natalie was going to be the target to be sent home with Russell basically telling her that while adding that they needed the three guys to go up against Brett to make sure his reign would end. Instead, Russell decided to put his target on Jaison saying that Jaison had worn out on the game a while back and was performing weak. It came down to Russell and Natalie on deciding who to get rid of on whether it was Mick or Jaison. Jaison was the choice and he was voted out on a three to two vote. Russell worked a deal with Brett over the next round of safety. If either of them won immunity, the other would be safe and be taken to the final three. That gets the final four to the final immunity challenge. It was a balancing endurance challenge. You had to balance a statue on top of a pole while adding pieces to the pole making it taller after a determined amount of time. Mick and Natalie went out first. That left the showdown between Russell and Brett. Brett ended up losing with Russell winning his first individual immunity. I did like Russell’s strategy at the end. You had thirty seconds to add your pole piece and Brett went for his quickly. Russell set back and watched to let Brett go first and possibly lose the balance. However, then Russell would have to scramble to get his piece on there. With Russell with immunity, he had to decide on what to do from there. He had a deal with Mick and Brett so the deal would have to be broken with someone. Mick started getting very nervous thinking that the deal wasn’t solid with Russell. Natalie assured him that everything was ok and I’m mostly sure that she had no idea that Russell had worked a deal with Brett so Mick’s safety being in question would have been news to her. The decision was made to vote out Brett and he was gone at tribal council despite how likable that everyone found him. Foa Foa fights all the way back and makes it to the final three. Russell, Natalie, and Mick are your final three going for the million dollars. Russell then had an interesting strategy as they got back to camp. He started messing with them on how the jury was going to vote. It really was this feeling of that he was planting seeds to get an idea of what the others game plan was going to be on how to get votes. Russell kept saying that he did have the votes to win. He definitely was trying to get in their heads. That gets us to the final tribal council. Natalie’s opening statement was basically how much that she had done there when no one there or people at home thought that she could do it. Mick talked of how hard he had played in the game. Russell flat out laid down his game play including showing moves that he had made involving jury members to get where he was. Some of the jury questioning had some hurt feelings being shown but it wasn’t as harsh as I thought it might be. I didn’t really think Russell got slammed that bad from the jury. Shambo wasn’t hiding her feelings taking shots at Natalie and Mick while apologizing to America for dismantling Galu. Russell did have to defend himself when questioned about his game play style of lying, cheating, and stealing as compared to what he is like in real life replacing those adjectives with integrity, honor, and loyal. I liked Dave’s question on percentages asking what percent sure they were on winning cause it was very telling of what all of us viewers were thinking. Based on the questioning so far, Natalie and Mick gave themselves a very low percentage on winning while Russell brought his down a bit saying 55%. I thought Russell had it wrapped up at this point as well based on the jury. Then, Erik gets up last and talks of the jury criticism of Natalie’s game play of that she rode coattails and all. He added that he didn’t see how Russell’s game play of lying, cheating, and stealing was so much better than what Natalie did. He said that he would be voting for Natalie. So, we get to the live vote and the surprise happens with Natalie getting the votes that she needed. I believe the vote total was five to two when the winner was declared and I’m not sure about the other vote. The reunion show had Russell visibly upset over the results. You could see him steaming over it and he was asked about how he was feeling. He said that he played the best strategic game in Survivor history and thought he should have won which got a big reaction of cheers from the crowd. However, Natalie was hyped up by Jaison over her game play as well with how she played hard and hooked up with Russell to the end with letting Russell take the bullets of the people getting voted off. Natalie then got a lot of cheers from the audience as well. Russell wanted the win really badly and offered $10,000 to Natalie just to give up the name of “sole survivor” to him. She could keep the money. He just wanted the name of sole survivor. He later upped that to $100,000 and she wouldn’t budge on it. Russell did say that he had no regrets on his game play. Other notes from the reunion show. Russell and Jaison’s exchange was funny including Russell bringing new socks for Jaison but throwing them in the fire again. Jeff Probst brought up the bad names that he had for the girls early in the show with the alliance while pointing out that one of those girls beat him. Mike and Russell S are both ok and doing fine. Great to see them back in good health as they had some very scary moments. Russell S said that he had a near death experience out there. Yasmin forgave Ben for the comments that he made about her and all is well between the two of them. The fan vote for the Survivor player of the season was between Russell, Brett, and Shambo. It came down to Shambo and Russell getting the top two votes with Russell winning which gave him $100,000. Fun season overall and Russell was a big reason for it. I do wonder how this season would have been without him. He was a good villain for the show all season and fun to watch. Congratulations to Natalie!! I predicted her win but really didn’t think it was going to happen after watching that jury questioning. I really thought that Russell had it wrapped. Natalie proved a lot of people wrong and was strong in challenges. I said that midway through the season that people were going to have to watch out for her cause how of how well that she was doing in challenges. Much respect goes out to this whole cast. The conditions out there were HORRIBLE at times with the non stop rain and all. This was a tough season.

Survivor 20 premieres on February 11. The theme will be Heroes vs. Villains. This is going to be the long talked about new All Stars Survivor. The idea is that the heroes will be players from the past who played with integrity while the villains played on skills and deception. That should be fun and I’m excited to see who is brought back.

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