A Spoiler-Free look at the All Star Survivor Finale
"They've shown they're nothing more than followers in this game...I think it's downright foolish they didn't talk." - Johnny Fairplay, on the women not conspiring to get rid of the guys while they were away on the car reward challenge (or so he thought)
"Q: Big Tom, what exactly did you, Rupert and Jenna discuss when Rob and Amber were at the drive-in? Big Tom: Popcorn, hot dogs, Pepsi." - from Tom's CBS webchat
So it's come to this...Rupert, Jenna, Amber, and Rob.
The above two quotes serve to illustrate well how strategies have been way too locked in stone for a lot of players this season. Whereas the Pearl Islands people were conditioned mainly by watching the alliance-hopping Rob Cesternino, I think many of the All Stars have essentially taken their strategies from the Pagonging-filled season they were on. Certainly this is true of Big Tom. In Africa, Lex Tom and Ethan struck their final three agreement on Day Two, and save for a few bumps in the road along the way that was it. Why fix something that ain't broke, seems to have been Tom's thinking.
But this was a completely different situation, and Tom didn't seem to be able to adapt. While he could have potentially snagged Alicia at the final nine and gone with Mogo Mogo, he would have had to stab a lot of tribemates in the back for a questionable gain in the game.
Yet this week, with five people left...THIS was your time Big Tom! How could he not know that he would hit an impenetrable voting bloc at the final three with Romber? I don't care what sort of stories the two of them were feeding him, Tom doesn't have the smokin' ass so he facing a sure Immunity or Death situation. Maybe he thought that was his best shot anyway, seeing as he could trounce Rob in the final two. But still, you gotta GET THERE Big Tom! And Jenna and Rupert would be a much better prospect at cracking apart. As for betraying Rob and Amber...what are they going to say? That either of them were seriously thinking of bringing Tom to the finals? They wouldn't have a leg to stand on in that argument.
Nope, any way you slice it he blew his one big opportunity to get to the top. Still, I say you've really got to hand it to Big Tom...he made it a long way, and is now officially the guy who has played the most days of Survivor out of anyone - 36 days this time, plus 37 last time totals 73 days. Even if Amber makes the final two she'll only be at 72, and the rest of them aren't even close. And though he should have never trusted his alliance with Rob to the end, he had every reason to think that he would be safe this week, given that he was in a swing vote position. Now by the looks of it we could have a tie, and that isn't a savoury prospect for anyone.
In other episode-related news...well, we had the by-now completely predictable car as a reward. All of them would have been anticipating that. We had the super challenge (or SuCha) that combined elements of previously seen challenges from this series...which were themselves elements of challenges from previous seasons! Reminds me that old math problem...you have a pack of 25 cigarettes, and can roll another one out of five butts. So how many can you smoke? Answer: 31, because once you've rolled five cigarettes out of the 25, you've got enough to roll one last one from the butts of the butts. Even showing a movie harkened back to Brandon and Frank's viewing of Out of Africa. Too bad they never made Out of Africa II: Electric Boogaloo.
But then came the new part...to quote the late Rod Roddy "A new car!" Or I guess "ANOTHER new car!" That was a fun moment to watch, because it was so, so out of nowhere to them both. And since Rob already had his manly truck, he could fully celebrate giving Amber a more feminine Chevy Malibu. That scene did put a smile on my face...even though I read months ago there were likely two cars given away.
Rob and Amber did bring food back, but only some candy they stuffed into their pockets...and then they still took a share for themselves. I've never really been able to figure out in eight seasons the rules by which they can bring back food...honestly, I think it's purely arbitrary on the producer's part. Though with this few days left, and Rob and Amber suspicious of everyone, perhaps it was best to not bring back a lot of food anyway. Why give your competition any extra energy? Rupert may complain about Romber doing no work and thus having lots of energy at challenges, but then again no one is forcing you to work either Rupert...that's all on you.
Still, even with the movie and the cah (in Rob's words) this is one sorry-ass looking bunch of people. They look sick, drained, haunted with paranoia, and utterly, utterly sick of each other. Even on a season where they would start as strangers the conversation would start to get tiresome at this point, but now they have REALLY exhausted all topics. There were some testy words exchanged throughout (even the demure Amber snapped at Tom when discussing his status as a swing vote) that simply would not come out of their mouths under any other circumstances. As for Rupert being sorry to have allied with Jenna? I think after it's all over he's going to apologize for that big time. I have no real problem with Jenna as a person, but I think a little goes a long way with her, and after listening to her chatter for 30+ days straight? Who WOULDN'T be sick of her?
Funniest Moment: I have to say that any mildly humourous scene in this episode was trumped far and away by Big Tom's CBS website transcript! If you haven't read it yet, do it now...arguably the funniest chat with any contestant EVER! Though I pity the poor sap assigned to transcribe whatever the hell Tom was saying!
And now folks...my speculation on the last episode!
I'm finding this a difficult article to write about as a non-spoiler piece. Because you guys know I read 'em...I can't help myself, though I'm going to try my damnedest to avoid Survivornews' picks until tonight. But I don't want to restrict my readership to the spoiler people here. Perhaps I'll just write a separate spoiler column...
I WILL say a couple of things though...
- there is one person who is absolutely DOA. I would seriously bet my life on it...I'm that sure. Yeah, yeah, I know I bet the farm on Darrah being in the final two last season, but this time the evidence is overwhelming that one person it outta there. Read the bullet points on the CBS website about the finale. Use your head from there.
- I have a really, REALLY hard time believing that Rob is not in the final two. Rob has stabbed so many people in the back he'd make Jack the Ripper envious. We all know Amber would take him to the top (unless she pulls a REALLY gutsy move...that I talk about in the forums today) and Rupert and Jenna would have to be out of their minds not to do the same. Even besides all that, both Burnett and Probst have said the final Tribal Council is the most emotion packed one they have had since the first season. Considering the seething hatred brewing in the jury towards Rob (Tom said in his chat the other day the jury had "Lots of hate and discontent.") I just can't logically see it any other way. Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong, but you'd have to pick me up off the floor if I am.
NOW...just who is Rob sitting next to at the end? THAT'S where it gets murky, even for a seasoned spoiler guy like myself. I have a strong gut feeling, but like I say I think that's for the spoiler forum. So I'll leave it at that.
I just can't WAIT for that last Tribal Council! Oh, and the big surprise? My hunch is this...Jeff will bring out the urn, and say "One of you will be leaving here with a million dollars. The other one of you...will be leaving with TWO million AND the title of Sole Survivor." I can't think of what else it would be.
We'll see if I'm right! Just hours to go!