Previously on Survivor:
The episode started with Jeff pandering to the live audience, telling them about the “dream team” of players but not mentioning that one had been barred from the festivities. I don’t think many viewers realized that Vytas wasn’t there, but he was being penalized for flying back early to be with his family. It’s ironic on this night when family would mean so much.
When the show finally started, Jeff told us that Tasha, Jeremy, Spencer and Kimmi had come together leaving Wentworth and Keith on the bottom.
When it came time to reintroduce us to the Final 6, Jeff started with Jeremy, saying he has it all.
That makes a good title for this quick look at the episode and the season.
Jeremy Has It All
It was clear that Jeremy was the biggest jury threat so I entered this episode hoping that someone would realize it. It would have been extremely disappointing to see Jeremy having a free ride to the end. One of the players that I was happiest to see on this cast came through for me…and production gave her the business. There will be more on that later.
The episode started with Keith asking everyone why they got rid of “the goat”. Spencer told him that they had to get rid of her because she would have taken someone’s spot and because Keith wanted to go with her instead of anybody else.
The intent of the scene was to show that Keith isn’t the smartest player but what it really showed was that he was smarter than Spencer!
The interesting scene was between Kelley and Kimmi when she explained her plan: She would get her alliance to split the votes between Keith and Kelley so that she could join the two underdogs and vote out either Spencer or Jeremy.
That is the way to use one’s “social game”. By having gained Jeremy’s trust, Kimmi was now in a position to blindside him. Some will say that she should have moved at Final 7, but Abi had to be removed first; however, this should have been the extent of Kimmi’s involvement. She should have let Kelley do the rest of the work to get Keith on board. Then again, someone else should have joined this new “voting bloc” instead of denouncing it. If you don’t know who I mean it’s the same guy that’s just been shown to be dumber than Keith.
Coming back from confessional, it was already time for the Immunity Challenge.
With 3 Immunity Challenges and 4 Tribal Councils scheduled for the next two hours, there wouldn’t be much time for anything else. That meant Jeff was always present on our screen and always talking. Last week, we had “Superhero Jeff” now we have “Omnipresent Jeff”. He certainly deserves an “Over-the-Top Negative” rating for this episode.
Spencer won immunity.
Kelley had the confessional telling us that they are screwed if they let Tasha, Spencer, and Jeremy get to the end.
Kelley was on the right track: Everyone should have realized that they were screwed if they let Jeremy get to the end.
Tasha was happy that Spencer won immunity.
She was so happy that she went to sleep for most of the day. That confidence should have been rewarded with a trip to the jury.
Kimmi and Keith went to “get water”.
They should have known that this is the universal code for “let’s talk business.” Kimmi should have quietly stayed right next to Jeremy the whole time.
Spencer was the one who asked questions about Kimmi. He knew she was up to something.
The dumbass should have kept Tasha and Jeremy in the dark and he should have followed Kelley to water well himself to get in on the plan.
After talking to Kimmi, Tasha and Spencer, Jeremy told us that he was confident and that they would be splitting the votes.
As soon as Kimmi left, Spencer told Jeremy that Kimmi was about to betray them. Jeremy was sure that Kimmi was trustworthy. He even confronted her about it and Kimmi had a confessional telling us that she had used her emotions to fool Jeremy.
For anyone that “eliminated” Spencer and Kelley because they had been shown to be wrong about others on occasion, what do they say about this scene? Really, they should have “eliminated” Jeremy from consideration right there which would have been quite funny!
In the hammock, Spencer was relentless: They couldn’t afford to split the votes because of Kimmi.
This was the perfect time to blindside Jeremy. He told us that he wasn’t going to play his idol and he wouldn’t have if Kelley hadn’t played hers. Therefore, Spencer should have been spending his time convincing Kelley that he was flipping on Jeremy. Spencer had the game in hand right then but he let it slip through his fingers by making the wrong call. That’s exactly what he told Woo when he voted against him in Cagayan. It was part of his Karma!
Asked about idols, Spencer told everyone where he stood: “Tasha, Jeremy and I aren’t going to split the votes anymore.” He was leaving Kimmi out of this on purpose.
Ciera was happy to see that someone else was ready to “go to rocks” but what we really saw was the return of Spencer’s arrogance at one of the worst time and he wasn’t about to quiet down. He won this battle, but it cost him the game.
Kelley and Jeremy played their idols and since Kimmi voted against Jeremy we didn’t have a single valid vote.
Jeff called it historic, and it was, but it turned out to be a historic fiasco. Before we get to that, though, we would see that Jeremy could also be arrogant.How Dare You Play the Game?[/caption]
Being safe from the revote, Jeremy was glad to dump on Kimmi. He told her that she had disappointed him.
Then he happily skipped all the way to the voting booth.
The jury’s reaction showed that they didn’t appreciate that arrogance. Even Fishbach, Jeremy’s closest friend in the game, was rolling his eyes.
The revote brought a 3-3 tie between Tasha and Kimmi.
That’s when Jeff pulled out the cheap shot against Kimmi. Later, he tried to explain this mess with his version of a Coach’s drawing board but what he really said was that they repeated the mistake of Marquesas. The rules of Survivor say, as JEFF EXPLAINED HIMSELF, that they don’t go to rocks when only one person is eligible to draw rocks. They shouldn’t have used rocks in Marquesas as Jeff has often said because only Paschal should have drawn from the bag. Since then, they have always used the fire challenge when they had ties at Final 4 but, because of the two idols, this was the exact same situation as a deadlocked final 4. They should have gone to a Fire Challenge between Kimmi and Tasha. Jeff even had the gall to say that they wanted to leave it to the players, but he was really blackmailing Keith. That was painful to watch. A Fire Challenge would have been much fairer. The funny thing is that we had just seen Kimmi being extremely handy with a flint…
…so maybe they didn’t want to go to a Fire Challenge if it meant losing Tasha. Out of the 322 reasons why Survivor is so tough to win, one of those first reasons has to be that a player has to be on production’s list of favorites.
The 2nd Immunity Challenge
It was an impressive obstacle course and it looked like a lot of fun.
Surprisingly, Kelley won the challenge in part because she took on one of the toughest obstacles first, getting it out of the way. She trailed for most of the race, but she wound up finishing first, getting extra time to do a puzzle where placing the first piece was crucial.
Coming back to camp, Spencer said that Keith was their target but that there was one thing worrying him: Another Immunity Idol.
I think he should have been worried about Jeremy instead, but he was too blind to see it. Had he joined Keith and Kelley, there would have been nothing Jeremy could have done at that point.
Kelley was the only one that tried to rock the boat by making a fake idol.
She had a better way to use it, though. Maybe she shouldn’t even have told Keith about it so has to create genuine surprise. One thing is certain, though, she shouldn’t have entrusted it to him. She either should have threatened Spencer with it before Tribal Council or she should have flashed it at Tribal Council and said: “I’m not going home and neither is Keith. Who wants to join us in the finals?”
Kelley gave her fake idol to Keith.
It led to the funniest moment of the evening.
Keith started walking around camp, pretending to be fumbling with the idol, trying to keep it hidden in his pocket but letting Jeremy see it as if by “accident”.
Jeremy was worried so he tried to talk to Keith without anyone else noticing but Keith was not “home”! Jeremy kept whispering to him, waving his hand, snapping his fingers but Keith looked as if he was sleeping with his eyes open!
Finally, Jeremy caught his attention and told him to vote against Spencer. Keith nodded in agreement.
That’s the biggest mistake to make when trying to leverage an idol. A player needs the threat that he will use it against the player he wants to flip especially when it is a fake idol. Once Jeremy knew that his ass wasn’t on the line, he didn’t worry about the idol anymore, fake or real.
Tribal Council (is this “déjà vu”?)
Keith said he had options but he chose not to use any of them. Kelley encouraged him to do something by nodding to him. Once Jeff said it was time to vote, she knew Keith had just lost his chance.
She should have spoken out because it also hurt her game. It would have been very helpful to count on Keith at Final Four. If he was almost willing to fall on his sword for Kimmi he certainly would have given Kelley a chance at a fire challenge against either one of the other two finalists.
Since Jeremy knew that Spencer was the target, he voted against Keith who was sent packing in a 3-2 vote.
The jury gasped in disappointment which should have told Spencer about his chances to earn their votes in the end. They clearly would have wanted to see him go. Yes, it would be very anti-climactic from here on out. There really was nothing left to show but the next immunity challenge so off we were to the arena.
The 3rd Immunity Challenge
Players in Borneo called Survivor a game show, but it wasn’t quite that back then. It took them 31 seasons before actually going with “The Price is Right” format.
The drama took a fatal hit when Kelley dropped her ball. Jeremy’s win was the “coup de grâce.” It’s quite ironic that after all the talk of being the new JT, first to Fishbach and now to Spencer, Jeremy won the game by winning the same challenge that sealed the deal for JT on his way to the title of Sole Survivor.
Jeremy almost broke down in tears. “It was all for his family,” he said.
Kelley was also in tears because she knew she had to win.
Spencer had an interesting confessional where he said he lost Cagayan when he lost control of his fate in the game. He was about to lose the game again for the same reason. His display at the previous Tribal Council clearly showed his arrogance, but he was about to break his personal record. He would wake up on the next day still in the game but with a zero percent chance of winning this game. I really liked Kelley’s expression when she told us in confessional what she thought of Spencer’s chances of winning the game.
When Kelley said that she would be voting for Spencer, he went all out on her. He even told Jeremy that he would vote for Kelley and would spend all his energy to make sure she’d win the game.
In essence, Spencer was saying that Kelley was a better player than he was so it really didn’t help the case he would present the next day. Even when Jeremy said he was ready to vote, Spencer warned him about keeping Kelley and that he would go to the jury to make sure she got the money.
Back For the Final Tribal Council
Savage probably had my favorite question.
He wanted an explanation for the arrogance that Spencer showed at Final 4 and Jeremy at Final 6.
While Spencer found the right words, saying that his arrogance came from his insecurity, he didn’t really SHOW his regrets or prove that his comments were anything less than a calculated decision. Jeremy’s explanation was that he was really upset with Kimmi whom he had trusted all along. He really SHOWED that he had been overwhelmed by his emotions at the time. That totally differentiated the two players. Savage left the stage pointing at Jeremy, leaving no doubt about his vote.
Keith asked Jeremy and Spencer to convince him that the other deserved the win.
I liked that, especially because he ignored Tasha which was the funny part of his question. Savage had done the same and a few others would follow.
Abi also asked an interesting question about subtle moves. For Tasha, it was aligning with Spencer. Spencer said it was about Joe and the dangers of being in the middle. Jeremy’s subtle move was using the reward losses to find the immunity idol.
Abi had the best dress of that Tribal Council.
Kimmi rightfully called Spencer a bully for what he did at the Final 4 Tribal Council. She wanted to know why Spencer replaced her in the alliance. Jeremy said that he never replaced her that she duped him instead.
I laughed when Kelly asked them to do what Greg Buis famously asked her at that very first Tribal Council: Pick a number. Like Greg, I doubt her vote truly depended on the results. I would have picked the number that Kelly picked back then if only I remembered it! 3, wasn’t it?
Kass ignored Tasha (!!) and focused on Spencer, asking him about his Cagayan comments.
Kelley asked them about their second chance stories. Jeremy blew his competition away when he said that he was playing for Val, his kids and then he announced that Val was expecting a boy. Abi almost cried.
Did you cry? I want to say that Kelley also looked hot in that dress (but I preferred her Reunion dress!)
When we didn’t see any votes being revealed, we knew that Jeremy had won in a shutout.
Kimmi: For an old-school player, she came up with the only plan that had a chance of getting rid of Jeremy and she used a terrific new-school tactic. Her execution was flawed, however, because she only fooled Jeremy. Spencer noticed her actions and quickly denounced her. Then the two idols led to her unjust elimination. The interviews showed that Kimmi has a terrific personality as we always knew from her first season so her relatively invisible edit can be viewed as a sign that production didn’t even want her to stay.
Keith: In interviews, he said he still wasn’t sure what happened at that Final 6 Tribal Council, and he wondered if they were making up the rules as they go along. He shouldn’t have been surprised about that since production always adapts the “rules”. He was a fun character, but it was disappointing to see that he was confusing integrity with gamesmanship. In this game where even production bends the rules, there’s nothing better to do than to use every advantage possible, and paranoia is a powerful tool. He should never have agreed with Jeremy on voting against Spencer. He should have put the target on the man from Boston instead. A simple: “Hey man, I respect your game much more than Spencer’s so I have to give myself a shot” and then simply smiled. Would it have worked? We will never know, but Jeremy was truly worried at one point and he would have gone to the end with anyone.
Kelley: I was fooled by her edit, but it is extremely atypical of Jeff’s editing style to give more confessionals to a woman than to the eventual male winner especially one with such a good story and who has a style that connects with the audience. Before the finale, Kelley had 33 confessionals to Jeremy’s 27 so I think it’s more than atypical, it’s abnormal. I applaud them for it because that is going back to the old style of editing where the winner was hiding in the middle and the big characters were used as distractions. It’s funny, though, considering that Danni had 30 confessionals before entering Guatemala’s finale, finishing the season with 41! Everyone called her an invisible winner!! If that isn’t enough, then consider that Vecepia finished her season with 38 confessionals, more than Jeremy had this time around! Times have changed but giving Kelley such a prominent role this season is remarkable. To understand her role we have to admit that production wanted us to see her as a potential winner and she certainly had the chance to win. Fishbach wrote that Kelley could have beaten Jeremy and he was on that jury so we can believe him. Even Jeremy admitted she had a chance. One thing we can say for sure is that it wouldn’t have been a 10-0 score. However, a Kelley-Jeremy finale was almost impossible. Kelley would have likely gone up against a combination of Keith, Spencer or Tasha where she would have had a solid margin of victory.
Tasha: She didn’t want to bring goats to the end so her karmic fruit came when she was turned into Jeremy’s goat. At Final 4 Tribal Council, she said her best move was to shut up and that was enough to get her to the end. In return, the jury mostly ignored her, forcing her to stay quiet by directing their questions to Jeremy and Spencer. In a sense, we had a final two!
Spencer: Spencer wanted to change and, for 35 days, he was mostly successful. Then it all came crashing down at that Final 6 Tribal Council where his arrogance reappeared. It got even worse at Final 4 when he bullied Kelley and threatened Jeremy even after the fireman had said he had made his decision. His karma was twofold, showing he would need many other rebirths to finally attain enlightenment. First, he made the same mistake that Woo made, choosing to go with the player that he couldn’t beat in the end. Maybe Woo had the chance to get rid of Tony at Final 3 but Spencer had chances to get rid of Jeremy both at Final 6 and final 5. By voting out Stephen, he became Stephen! Like Fishbach before him, he regretted not voting against this season’s JT. Then, of course, Kass pointed out the irony that Spencer had to flip to reach the end and he also had zero percent chance of winning. The finale showed that Karma could be viewed as this season’s main theme.
Jeremy: Like Earl when Jeff said they would be having a Final 3, Jeremy knew that he had won the game when Spencer dropped a ball at the last immunity challenge. That truly sealed the deal because he must have known that the jury would see his game favorably. His social game was exceptional so it was just a question of getting there. He made some serious miscalculations along the way, but his connections enabled him to recover quickly. It’s a little disappointing to see another strong guy win his way to the end by using idols, but that’s Survivor these days. I’m always a little surprised to see that the jury (and the viewers whom they represent after all) count as a positive the fact that someone finds and uses an idol. I’d count the fact that they needed to save themselves with that bobble as a negative mark against their game, especially when they were in the majority alliance for most of the game.
In the end, we can say that Jeremy reached Survivor’s Nirvana because he followed the right path. His goal was selfless; he didn’t even care about himself because he was doing it all for Val and his children. That determination showed us a very deserving winner.