Pathway to Glory
What did you guys think about the One World concept? After 21 poor seasons, it was about time they tried something new! You think I’m exaggerating? Well, Borneo and the Outback were great but after that? Amazon? Pearl Islands? Many didn’t like their winners. Palau? Most found it too predictable while others hated to see all those quitters. You think Exile Island was good? Not really since it was the 3rd time in the same place and it was the start of that stupid Hidden Immunity Idol twist. What about China? Survivor is supposed to be about people living in a remote place, often a deserted island but in China the survivors were located right next to the city of Jiujiang and its 5 million residents. It should have been called Survivor Suburbia. Some liked Micronesia but it was quite unfair to have these newbies going up against veterans especially since most of the “fans” had never even watched the show!
All in all, I’d say the series had 2 solid hits in 12 years and this new twist, like so may before it, flopped mightily: It was supposed to promote cross-tribal alliances and prevent pagonging but we had a first class, Survivor 101, Hatch versus the clueless Pagongs, ending. I’ve been saying that the problem isn’t the beginning but the end: The F3 means you can’t let someone from the other side stay too long. Add the bloated jury and even someone like Tarzan becomes a threat to win. Have you seen the jury box lately? They are about to expand and put in bleachers. Burnett is negotiating with local authorities to have them build a new stadium. Here’s a suggestion to make more money: Have vendors up there in the jury box: “Popcorn! Peanuts! Cracker Jack!”
Before we get to the jury, I should start this recap but, for me, it started with Jeff having lost his voice or so it appeared because all I could hear was music. We had pictures showing us that this season started as a battle of the Sexes with both tribes living on the same beach. The Men were called Nonos and the women were Solame. And were they ever dumb and lame. As always.
The women formed a 5 person alliance on day one before even knowing each other. By the second episode and their 2nd trip to Tribal Council, they were already considering that it was so lame to have agreed to that alliance. By then however, they were stuck. It wasn’t better in camp where their poor shelter offered no protection from the cold and rain. They had to beg and borrow from the guys in order to survive. The girls were crying…a lot.
Under those circumstances, you’d expect the guys would have it in the bag but oh no, no! No bag for them. When the women started turning things around, these guys were about to do everything possible to help them! With a military march playing, we saw the 4 strong guys who thought it would be a good idea to form an alliance. An alliance of 4 in a tribe of 9! To their leader, Matt they were the Roosters but to us they were the dodo birds, soon to be extinct. If that wasn’t enough to divide a tribe, there was one guy, Colton, who felt more like a girl but even the girls didn’t want anything to do with him. The guys fought…a lot.
By the 4th episode, the women had lost their third immunity challenge and were about to go down by two members. That’s when the Nonos thought it would be a great idea to go to Tribal Council in order to resolve their division. They must have thought that Jeff was a psychiatrist and that Tribal Council would be like group therapy! Our host couldn’t believe how dumb they were but rubbed his hands in satisfaction, knowing how the masses would gobble this up, thinking it was TV gold.
Bill, a stand-up comic who had nowhere to stand in this tribe was voted out. He didn’t think that it was funny and we never had a chance to find out if he was funny; something to do with the editing rule that says viewers shouldn’t get to know these people. Nevermind that they were cast because they had qualities we’d like to know! You see, between character development and a good story, telling a story always comes first. Do you really think you tune in to watch Survivor, the adventures of ordinary Americans playing the game of a lifetime? No, you are watching sketches put together to copy the flavor of the season. For example, Australia was Hell’s Kitchen, All-Stars was Rob’s season of “The Bachelor” and Samoa was Russell playing “America’s Biggest Loser”.
This part of the season was the “Colton Show” and, unfortunately, that was the time when the voices came on. Once more we had to hear that dumbass rant and rave and show both his ignorance and his racism. He’d later waste half the reunion denying it was racism. I say; if it Kwackks like a duckkk and walkkks like a duckkk, it probably is racism. Luckily, he was a lame duckkk.
Moving ahead, the merge set everything back to square one! Jeff probably didn’t see that Kim was already far ahead of him when she told us that it was time for the guys to know where the women stood. Jeff called it one of the most successful comebacks in Survivor History but when were the women really trailing? All the men were gone which means that Tarzan will forever be remembered as the man that didn’t get any even if he was the last man in the (one) world.
Jeff ended his own little recap by saying Christina and Alicia were aligned, Chelsea and Sabrina were aligned and that everyone thought Kim was on their side. Funny Jeff! I think Kim is on her own side! He added: “May the best woman win” and I’m thinking that if the best does indeed win, we know how this goes already. But since there were two hours to fill, they gave all five women a chance to present themselves to the audince:
-Sabrina: “My student love me because I let them do whatever they want just like I let Kim do whatever she wanted.”
-Kim: “This is like a video game and I have to run out of the tunnel before it comes crashing down on my head.”
-Christina: “I am not a stereotypical Asian girl…” (I’ll say; she’s not smart and doesn’t work hard.)
-Chelsea: “I love money.”
-Sabrina: “Home girl from the city killed it!” (“It” would soon get revenge!)
For the first time in a very long time, we had the full introduction and we saw faces we had practically forgotten. We would hear from them again later so lets hit the fast forward here…
Back from Tribal, Kim was the first one to talk to us. She recalled the time when the women had a miserable little shelter and how she will soon be living in a mansion.
Alicia was ambivalent about Tarzan’s departure: She lost power but she was with her girls at the end. She was sure that Chelsea and Sabrina would be the next to go: “They know it!”
(I’m telling you Alicia; watch out for “it”)
She even added: “I played one hell of a game”!
If Kat was the most naďve Survivor ever, is Alicia the most delusional? Nah! Hantz is still the biggest fool ever. But he and Alicia would go well together.
BTW, I think it’s over between him and Krista.
The next morning, Kim and Sabrina went to get tree mail.
Sab said she wanted to get rid of Alicia next but Kim asked her what she thought of eliminating Chelsea because Alicia wouldn’t get any votes.
After 37 days, Sabrina finally realized that there was a game to play and decisions to make. “What would be the reason for that?” she asked.
I am like..Hello!
Showing that she still had things to learn about this game, Sabrina asked us: “If Chelsea wins immunity, am I on the chopping block?”
What do you think?
Instead of doing something about it, like maybe turning things on Kim and teaming up with Chelsea, Sabrina told us she wanted to put her head in the challenge.
We then had a bird’s eye view of the challenge which had a maze, a net, stairs and probably some puzzle pieces involved somewhere.
Yep! Jeff told us that the maze was actually a balance beam maze (which means that, if any man was still standing, they wouldn’t have a shot at getting immunity here!). It was followed by a rope net where 5 bags of puzzle pieces had to be retrieved and then the puzzle pieces gave you clues to a lock combination and blah, blah, blah…
Win this challenge and you will have a 1 in 4 chance at winning the million…unless you are Erik Reichenbach that is!
With a determined look on her face, Christina took an early lead and was the first to the balance beam maze. Suddenly she realized who she was and, since she was supposed to suck at challenges, she fell off the beam and had to go back to the beginning.
Kim also fell off the beam but that was in order to give the others a shot at this challenge.
Alicia and Chelsea took the advantage and were first across the maze. Sabrina you ask? Well, her head was probably in the challenge but her body was in neutral as she stalled somewhere between “I suck” and “WTF”. Finally she joined the other two on the net.
Alicia, as generous as ever, was untying everyone else’s bags but her own. Unfortunately, Jeff had to tell her. He should have let her go to the puzzle board and then told her!
Kim was catching up too fast so she decided to head back a bit so that she could get to the net at the same time as Christina. That way, she figured she had given the others enough time to make it a fair fight. By the puzzle board, she had passed Sabrina while Christina was in her comfort zone: Last place. Jeff encouraged her, saying she was still in it when everyone knew she was out of it before it had even started.
Her head still in the challenge but not her eyes, Sabrina struggled with the pieces. If this had been a “stack the pieces of wood on the table” challenge then she’d be doing fine but as for putting pieces together? Not so much.
By this time, Kim had pretty much taken the lead so it seemed time to “turn out the lights, the party is over”. She was the first to climb the stairs to her combination lock but, when she pulled the handle, it didn’t move. For the first time in this game, Kim met some resistance! She switched some numbers but still no luck. This little box was harder to figure out than the whole game!
Alicia thought she’d give her lock a shot but really, if Kim couldn’t get it, what chance did Alicia have! Sure enough, she had to go back down along with Kim.
That gave Chelsea a chance to solve her puzzle. We saw that she truly does suck at puzzles so imagine Sabrina and Christina who still looked like they were piling firewood instead of solving a puzzle!
Having given Chelsea a shot at solving the lock, Kim decided the challenge had gone on long enough so she pulled her handle, released her flag and jumped for joy. Jeff called her over and gave her back the necklace that Alicia had borrowed for a few days.
The others only had splinters on their butts to show for this challenge.
Back in camp, Kim told us once more that she had so many options that her head was about to explode. (That would be the only way she doesn’t win this.)
Under the cover of going fishing, (something the others simply don’t do!) Kim and Chelsea went to discuss some of those options.
Chelsea told her that they should take out Alicia and go to the end with Sab.
She was unaware that Kim had told us that was only option 1, that there was also option 2 which was to turn Chelsea’s smile upside down and send her packing.
Or maybe Chelsea had a bit of awareness because she said Kim would win the game over her: “You played this game better than anyone else out here” she said.
Then Chelsea showed us that she wasn’t that good at reading people because she told us that Kim had her back the whole time.
On a roll, Chelsea proposed making a big play: Have Kim tell Christina and Alicia to vote for her and then Kim could give her the idol so she could eliminate Alicia.
Basically, Chelsea was telling Kim to be the bad guy so she can look like the player that saved herself.
Kim wasn’t buying: “At the time, it seemed smart to tell Chelsea I had the idol but now I wish she didn’t know because now she is expecting me to play it for her.”
After this conversation, Kim decided to take the safe route so she told Sab that they would be eliminating Alicia.
Her ears probably buzzing, Alicia told us: “Kim is 100% with me. Why in the hell would she want to go to the end with Sabrina and Chelsea?”
I’d like to tell Alicia that some players don’t need goats but it’s funny to see her live these last moments in blissfull ignorance.
Taking a page from JT’s book, Kim told us that she knew what everyone else was doing but that she didn’t know what she would do herself.
Making their first trip to Tribal Council, the women told Jeff that they enjoyed a leisurely afternoon.
Jeff didn’t like that so he brought up the paranoia angle.
Chelsea conceded that it would suck to leave now.
Kim gave Jeff a little bit of what he wanted to hear, saying it was difficult to decide because that choice would affect the next days.
Since no one else was contributing, Jeff turned the council into a one on one conversation with Kim, asking her about loyalty and threats to win.
Kim gave all the right answers to the point where the jury was obviously thinking that Jeff should end it now and give her the damn check.
She talked about her heart, her emotions and her strategy and how it was tough to separate everything.
Realizing that there were 4 other players left, Jeff asked if any had something to say before the vote.
Nah! Sab, Alicia and Christina were good since they all believed in Kim.
Chelsea was the only one that said Kim could gain some respect with this vote.
As Jeff started reading the votes, Kat told Troyzan it would be Chelsea going home.
Man! We try each week to spoil who will be voted out by watching the previews and reading some promos and we get it right most of the time. Kat was sitting there and knew everything that had been going on and still she would have made the wrong choice in Dabo’s thread! Don’t invite the girl to Spoilers!
At least, it must have made Alicia feel a bit better, not being the only one surprised by the outcome because the fool saw her name appear for the 3rd time on a parchment and had to get her torch snuffed.
Alicia’s final words were the nicest she had the whole time: “I am not a sore loser. I am proud of Kim, She fooled me.” She ruined it though by giving Christina one last shot. It really must have hurt to know that Christina outlasted her.
The Dusty Road
Returning to camp, the scales fell off Christina’s eyes…finally. “I thought Kim, Alicia and I were going to be part of the final 3.”
Yes, you worked so hard for that, didn’t you? You totally deserved Final 3. Great job!
Chelsea knew she owed her stay in the game to Kim: “It was all her.”
“It was all her” Chelsea said.
(I had to repeat it because I know somewhere down the line someone will say Chelsea played a great game. In fact, it’s already started!)
Chelsea added that listening to Christina explaining herself to the jury would be a joke. Maybe it could be better to keep her over Sabrina.
(Considering how many votes she would be receiving in the end, the joke was pretty much on Chelsea)
On Day 38, Christina went to get tree mail, parading in her little black bikini top which was her best contribution to the season.
“I have to win immunity” she said, making everyone watching or reading this chuckle.
She added: “Previously, I would not elevate my game and be at a mediocre pace but now I need to step it up.”
You can’t make up stuff like this.
Before they got to the challenge however, they had to follow a dusty road that would lead them to the torches of their fallen comrades, one last chance to poke fun at them:
We had Kourtney who first appeared wearing a penguing hat and soon proved to be as good in flight as those birds.
Then we had Nina who must have been so happy spending her 15 minutes of fame with a face that looked like ground beef.
Matt who may be more delusional than Alicia which is hard to do. If he really thinks he could win this game Matt should start by learning his math.
Next, we had the Artist formally known as Prince…Or is he back to Prince now? He went by Bill in this game but he had even less success than Gary with his lie. Colton wasn’t a fan of Prince.
The path led to Monica’s torch who wanted to be Colton’s mom. (Should have given him up for adoption instead)
It was Colton’s turn which reminded me that I needed to take out the garbage.
Good ol’ Jonas proved that it’s worse to be a cook that can cook instead of a cook that can’t. The cook that can’t cook made it to the end.
Then it was Mike’s turn. Yes there was a Mike on the show apparently.
Jay was the eye candy to the female segment of the audience (and to some of its male viewers also) but his game bumpuzzled me.
Leif came to CBS hoping to be the half man on the network’s comedy show but even Angus set the bar too high for this guy. Pretty tough to be worse on TV than Angus but Leif did it.
Troy “My Island” Zan was due up next but he still hadn’t accepted being voted out so he was out in the jungle somewhere, sulking.
Kat said the show had given her a chance to learn some new dance moves. Maybe she would have done better on that reality TV show.
Then we reached Tarzan’s Torch which, unfortunately was another occasion for him to parade in his underwear. Where was the blur guy when we needed him?
We finally reached the end of the road but really, we could have stopped before because, waiting there was Alicia’s torch who said she fell in love with herself. Good thing because no one else did...or will.
It all ended in a fire.
Jeff greeted them at the challenge arena: “Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina and the other girl; are you ready for your final immunity?”
In unisson, they answered: “Yes”, “Yes”, “Yes”, “What?”
The challenge involved a strange structure made of steel wires mounted on a spring. The women would have to handle a long pole at the end of which they would hold a small bowl and they would have to maneuver their bowl through the wires and to the top of the structure. They would have to do it 10 times, stacking the little bowls on top of each other, not hitting the wires because that would make the spring vibrate and could tip the bowls over.
Jeff, a suggestion: Little logs, the immunity idol, stand on the log, place one hand on the idol and go as long as you can. Ring a bell? Or does your contract now include a clause that says you will not be part of a challenge than can last more than a couple of hours?
By the second bowl, Kim was already in the lead so she dropped her 3rd one, still wanting to give the others a fair shot.
Kim’s set back forced Jeff to turn to a staff member and ask what was the name of that girl that was now tied with Kim.
Christina? Yes, that was Christina showing that handling long poles with two hands is one of her (rare) skills.
I can see that.
Soon Chelsea and Sabrina were out of it meaning that this challenge was about as much in doubt as if Terry Dietz was wrestling Johnny Fairplay, or if Ozzy was swimming against Osten, or if the fire making challenge had been between Sundra and Cao Boi, or…someone stop me please!
Anyway, they were only at 4 bowls each and it was just a matter of wasting time until Jeff said: “Kim wins immunity!”
Did anyone notice how quickly Jeff yelled out those words? Kim seemed to think she had to run back to her table but Jeff didn’t wait, probably worried that the wind would knock her bowls over, giving the win to that other girl. Like Chelsea, that would have made him cry.
Lay Down Stay Down
Back in camp, Kim gave a confessional saying it felt awesome having immunity and not being Christina.
Christina went to Kim telling her that she had a phobia about blindsides and would just like to be told right there and then.
That must infuriate the editors when they can’t even manufacture suspense.
If Christina had went on a rampage, told everyone to shut up and die like she had during the first TC of the season maybe she could have gotten another paid vacation to a remote area from Burnett and company but no, she had to be boring to the end.
She wanted to make it as enjoyable and peaceful as possible but, for us, it meant waiting for the next few minutes to go by.
(Now you know why they included the full introduction!)
Kim, being a fan of the show, tried to make it interesting, saying that by falling on her sword and being such a nice goat, it made it hard not to take Christina to the end. Kim’s efforts to create false suspense were useless; the editors had given up; this confessional was done in voice-over as we saw that the 4 women had already been told to make their way to the Tribal Council area.
Jeff wanted to set the stage for a dramatic Council: “Kim is going to the Final tribal council, that is a fact. The question is: Which two of you are going to join her?”
Kim said it was quiet.
Sabrina agreed that the cards were laid out.
Jeff objected that one person had to see the need to scramble.
Chelsea said they made it clear who was going.
Jeff still couldn’t see the obvious.
The three women still playing the game had an awkward silent pause.
“Jeff; it’s me” said a resigned Christina.
Troyzan couldn’t believe he was hearing this.
Jeff pushed, trying to see if Christina made any attempts to save herself.
Quite feebly, Christina made the argument that Sabrina had been bad in challenges and hadn’t done any strategizing.
From where I was sitting, that was an argument to keep Sabrina, not to vote her out!
Did I say that Christina is dumb? I might have…not sure. Well, if I didn’t I’ll say it here: She is stupid!
Sabrina explained that perception isn’t reality and that she has known what’s been going on and that if she had been on the chopping block, she would have tried everything possible.
As she spoke, we saw Kat bending over to Troyzan, telling him that Sabrina was a great speaker.
This told me that, since Tribal Council was a bust, they were setting up the suspense for the next, making the audience think that the jury liked Sabrina.
Christina tried to explain that she wasn’t laying down to die but her words really meant that she was laying down to die.
Kim, once more thinking of ratings, said that she wouldn’t have been like Christina and that it made her a good choice to take to the end.
At least that made Sabrina look worried.
Jeff tried once more saying that a vote that seemed like a formality could turn into a million dollar mistake for somebody.
They voted, Jeff tallied and Christina’s torch was snuffed.
When Jeff said time for you to go, his eyes said: “Get out of here dumbass!”
In her final words (I was surprised they bothered showing them) Christina said she was proud of herself but would play differently if she could start over.
Playing the Game
The last day in the South Pacific started with a beautiful sunrise which was an occasion for Sabrina to reflect on life and her game.
She was overwhelmed by emotions realizing that she had made it to the end and she spoke of her kids living in one of the craziest neighborhoods of the country.
The scene served to make us think that yes, not only Sabrina is a nice person but that she could get a few votes with her story and her ability to tell it.
Going for tree mail, Kim told Chelsea and Sabrina what she would say at tribal Council: “I know I lied to you but I have no boobs left so have a little mercy.”
They liked that joke and so did I.
Arriving at the tree mail location, they saw the usual F3 breakfast.
While this unfolded, we heard Chelsea’s reflection on the game, saying she was so nervous at the beginning and didn’t expect to be sitting in the Final 3. Instead of just the million dollars, she said this was about the adventure, the friends and the memories she will be sharing with her kids and their kids.
Kim talked about her divorce and how the game showed her that she could make quick and tough decisions and see them work.
Witht that, the three women took their last walk to Tribal Council.
After Jeff’s usual ramblings, we had the opening statements and Chelsea went first, saying that having a great pair was important.
The guys all nodded in agreement but she meant her partnership with Kim, not her boobs.
She added: “I don’t think it’s a secret that Kim and I have been a pair throughout this whole game.”
(Troyzan’s eyes said “Duh!”)
Chelsea explained that she would map out the vote with Kim before every council but that her game changed at the merge. Jonas was such a nice guy that it made it hard for her. She said that forced her to take her emotions out of the game. Then she said something strange; Kim had more of an emotional connection to the players they voted out. Chelsea was counting on that to get votes but really we had been shown that Kim was the cold one. Perception really isn’t always reality!
In turn, Kim used the Todd approach, saying she loved the game and saw it as a game, doing everything possible to be there at the end. She was all about strategy but sending everyone home took a toll on her and that was hard.
Sabrina said she looked for balance; She had to step back to avoid being a target. She was almost proud of never having the necklace. She called Kim the messenger making me wonder who she thought wrote those messages! She told the jury about her job, her kids and being laid-off.
Jonas was the first to address the 3 women. He started by demanding they answer him with a “Yes, master Jonas” which got everyone laughing.
He said he’d vote for Sabrina if it was a popularity contest but he was amazed by how much she sucked at the challenges, that Tarzan was better than her.
To Chelsea, he said the guys agreed she was the hottest chick of the season but he wanted to know what was her biggest move.
Chelsea said it was deciding that Kat had to go home.
To Kim, he thought her flawless game had ended at the last Council when she kept Sabrina over that girl.
Kim answered that if the jury hated her then she’d lose to that girl just as much as she would lose to Sabrina but if the jury voted for who played the best game then it wouldn’t matter.
Christina asked Kim who she would have voted out instead of her at F4.
Kim said she could win more easily against Sabrina so she would have voted out Chelsea.
From Chelsea, she wanted to know why she hated people.
(I wonder if Christina prepared that question for Alicia and didn’t bother changing it even if Alicia wasn’t in the F3!)
Chelsea answered that she wasn’t a cold-hearted bitch but that she played one because Kim told her to do so.
Jay was next and he had questions about Sabrina’s strategy of doing nothing.
Her answer, as you’d expect, did nothing to sway Jay.
Mike asked Kim to tell him what the word blindside meant because he obviously had no idea what it did.
After patiently giving him (another) lesson in Survivor she added that it had to be him that time because Troyzan was willing to vote him out over a woman.
Then Michael asked if Kim knew the definition of the word blame but thankfully Jeff told him to sit down. Playing definition doesn’t make good TV.
Tarzan was next but all he did was make a statement: “I am very pedantic and pedestrian but I am not a podiatrist or a pediatrist. My game was afoot even if I came short by a mile but at least I saw my wife.”
Chelsea commented that she loved to see his romance.
For a moment, I thought she was hitting on Tarzan!
Leif stood up from the bench so we had to look down. He wanted to know why he was voted out and asked Kim about it.
She told him it was because no one knew how he was going to vote, that he was wishy-washy.
Sabrina added that Kim delivered the message to eliminate him and she did even if it was hard.
Alicia had her turn and proved once more that she was delusional by saying she played the same game that Kim played and would have given her a better opposition in the end then her two pawns.
Troyzan was wearing pyjama pants and he soon would prove that he was well passed his bedtime. He focused his bitterness on Kim asking her to answer the ultimate Survivor question: At what moment did she demolish his chances of winning this game? I would have said he demolished his own game but she said it was when they got rid of Jonas. Troyzan obviously thought that wasn’t the correct answer so he did what he does best and sulked for the rest of the evening.
Jeff and Kim exchanged a glance much like parents do when they know it’s time to say: Go to bed, little boy!
Kat was the last to talk and she told them about her heart condition and that life was too short to stay angry. Nice sentiment but what had she been doing for the last few weeks if not showing her anger? In the end, she even told the jury not to base their vote on anger but Troyzan was too angry to hear her.
When the jury finally voted we only saw two votes: Troyzan voting for Sabrina and Kat voting for Kim.
That told us two things: Chelsea was getting zilch and there was going to be a landslide victory.
Indeed, when Jeff came back to the States he read the votes and, without much suspense, Kim ended up winning 7-2.
Well, that’s it for season 24 and for this summary, I hope you enjoyed both.
I enjoyed this season much more than the last few and it was fun writing this.
Thank you for reading.
PS. Any similarities between the songs linked and actual people or events depicted here are purely accidental. Those songs were only meant for musical accompaniment, not as comments on the players.