Logan Saunders recaps the FINALE of Survivor: David vs. Goliath.
SURVIVOR: AMERICAN CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS
Episode 14 Recap: “Immunity in The Nick of Time”
Probst wears the closest shirt to a Phil Keoghan turtleneck.
We get a VERY rare treat of Probst introducing ALL eighteen players by name. Wait, wasn’t there a 19th and 20th player? Eh, f–k it. My memory may fail me.
I miss the days of when I was at the Kaoh Rong finale.
Davie has been watching since he was eight. Just like me. I am twenty-seven now. Holy Christ.
Previously on Survivor: David vs. Goliath. David vs. Goliath. David vs. Goliath. Changing alliances and changing weather. A string of stunning blindsides and based on the last Tribal Council this battle shows no signs of slowing down.
Only six remain; four Goliaths in the form of Angelina, Mike, Kara, and Alison; and two Davids, Davie and Nick.
No intro for the players’ stories–we get straight into the first scene. That’s unprecedented.
NIGHT 35/EARLY MORNING 36
Everyone is up before dawn to seek the idol. All six are awake. The sun is fully up. Production should f–k with them by not hiding a single idol.
DAVIE (to NICK): You sweating like hell.
NO WAY! Angelina has it. . .oh, it’s just a clue to a ladder to an idol.
Angelina lost the clue from her bra. This is another piece to Angelina’s very long highlight reel.
Angelina makes a mad dash with her ladder to climb and. . .it’s too high. Now she is stuck.
People are hanging around the well. Angelina pours on the tears that she fell from a tree. A check for bruises. Hugs from Nick and Davie.
Amazingly enough, the idol goes unclaimed heading into the challenge despite a tool and a clear clue.
INDIVIDUAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE #8
Race through a series of obstacles. Use a ball to hook a target. Use the steps to assemble a staircase then assemble a massive 63-piece Survivor puzzle.
ALISON: . . .Oh my god.
I think it took a few seconds to compute assembling a 63-piece puzzle.
Big spaghetti reward is also up for grabs along with the talisman per tradition since Millennials vs. Gen X.
They sure love having a staircase puzzle assembling at final six or seven in nearly every season of US Survivor in recent years.
Everyone hooks their target except Alison but this looks like it’ll be the second longest challenge of the season.
I wonder if Brian Heidik could keep up with these folks. He’s the original Stairmaster.
Alison hooks her pieces. That was a lot of airtime on her. I think she is winning this challenge.
Kara is first to assemble the staircase. Now she has to solve a 63-piece puzzle. We need a Nick or Angelina win to guarantee nobody repeats individual talisman wins for a record period of time.
Alison is the only one putting the 63-piece puzzle together after a few minutes. She eventually joins the other five. So much emphasis on her. Probst also points out Nick is an underdog and rallying in this challenge too.
Probst indirectly references Wendell’s inability to yell his name when done.
Nick makes up time and wins individual immunity! Eight individual immunity winners. Holy hell. There are some seasons where you don’t even have eight individual immunity challenges.
Nick invites Angelina to take care of the vegetarian sauce as “I’ll take care of the meat.”
Oh, one more person gets to come along.
DAVIE: You owe me nothing.
Therefore Nick picks Mike. Jabeni Trio going on reward.
Probst points out Alison is once again not picked for a reward. She says it is getting tougher. Another confessional at the end of the challenge too.
Like Tucker Carlson, Alison is in the crossfire.
Angelina, Mike, and Nick have reward at the water well. How insulting as she lost her clue.
Davie, Alison, and Kara talk about the Jabeni bond. He can even hear them laughing!
Nick and Angelina agree on #AlisonSmackdown.
MIKE (to them): I would get Davie first.
NICK: I don’t think Davie would get that many votes–Alison needs to go first.
Mike gives his word to Angelina and Nick that he’ll vote with them.
They talk about if Alison has an idol. . .eventually Angelina fesses up to the idol clue and the ladder.
Mike has a wine glass in one hand and sifting for the clue with the other hand. Somehow he succeeds.
Nick holds the ladder as Angelina snags the idol in front of Nick and Mike. The alliance is solidified.
ANGELINA: Pretty uncommon for women to find hidden immunity idols.
Even more uncommon for them to find it alone.
ANGELINA: This idol is everything.
Oh boy. This is a precarious position.
Alison pulls Angelina aside. She pitches Davie as the vote.
Gabby’s tears are transplanted into Alison’s tear ducts.
Mike has a chat with Kara that they should eliminate Davie.
Davie and Nick are in the shelter.
DAVIE: Should I be worried?
Mike tries really hard to manipulate Angelina into being the fourth vote to eliminate Davie.
Mike wants to “thread the needle” and have Nick all to himself so he can break Davie away from him. . .but aren’t Alison and Kara equally close as a duo?
TRIBAL COUNCIL #13
Alison is blunt that her name and Davie’s name are the two out there.
Angelina points out that she saved Alison during the Christian and Gabby eliminations.
More banter until we vote.
ALISON votes DAVIE.
NICK votes ALISON.
Nobody plays a hidden immunity idol.
FIRST VOTE: DAVIE
SECOND VOTE: Alison
THIRD VOTE: Alison:(
FOURTH VOTE: DAVIE
FIFTH VOTE: DAVIE <3
FINAL VOTE: Davey <3
DAVIE: You coulda spelled me name right. Geez.
NICK: I didn’t know.
DAVIE: Of course you didn’t, Nick.
What’s that supposed to mean?
DAVIE: Whoever orchestrated this has my vote for a million dollars. It’s up to someone else to make a bigger move.
As Davie exits, he howls like a wolf.
MIKE: I orchestrated it.
Mike sticks his neck out further and further. How long until the guillotine comes down.
Davie has no idea who knocked him out.
Davie comes out at the reunion show and my god he cleans up well! Standavie Ovation! Davie is tearing up.
Davie apparently had just 40 hours notice to get on the show. He packed while talking to Probst on the phone.
Davie is a very good interview.
Another blindside where Nick was ditched by his closest ally. He ain’t gonna be happy, y’all.
Nick flips out at Angelina and refuses to trust Mike anymore. He wants to oust Mike White. Nick shall win immunity once more.
NICK: Alison is gonna win–SHE’LL WIN.
Rare for a conversation to go from private to public very fast.
Mike is worried Nick’s revenge will be so toxic that Mike shall have to eliminate the last David.
INDIVIDUAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE #9
And because this is a six-person finale, we go straight to our next challenge.
They will be on a perch on a pole in the ocean. On Probst’s go, they’ll use the bucket to retrieve water from the ocean. Fill a bamboo chute. Grab the flag/key, jump off the pole, swim, then assemble the puzzle.
Remember in Exile Island where all Terry had to do was get the flag to win immunity?
The pole is very wobbly for Alison. She can’t balance! That has to be tough for her core. Quickly to her knees. It is confirmed this will be the final vote of the season as there will be a F4 firemaking challenge next round. Sigh. That’s gonna upset people.
Mike White is looking more like Mel White as he is super awkward trying to use the bucket.
Alison is first to complete this phase! Mot likely out of fear!
Nick is about a 1/4 inch from retrieving the pole. Alison has at least a couple minutes lead. Nick has the key and heads for the beach.
Mike and Kara are about a minute behind them. Angelina is last into the water.
PROBST: They are building a face. Two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and a nice tongue.
The puzzle is Gene Simmons?
Nick DOMINATES this challenge. Immunity is his! The first repeat winner of the season. This was far more one-sided than yesterday’s challenge–the most competitive challenge followed by the least competitive challenge in Survivor history.
Will Nick seek personal revenge against Mike or eliminate the huge winner’s story that is backing Alison?
Angelina wants to be the star and a badass. She wants to get everyone except Nick to vote against her, and then use the idol for herself to bounce back and hit Alison. She will even make a fake idol for Alison.
Everyone should let Angelina have her fun. She is the obvious F3 goat.
Angelina tells the whole plan to the fellow Jabenis.
However. . .Mike White doesn’t want these theatrics. He thinks this is too absurd of a plot. That’s coming from a guy who wrote the Emoji Movie.
So Mike spills all of this to Kara secretly. You know, to cover his bases for F4.
Kara secretly tells this to Alison. Hmmm. . .I guess their only option is going after Mike. Nick has the talisman. Angelina has the idol. Mike didn’t think this scenario through.
Kara and Alison plead with Nick to flip.
Alison grabs Angelina’s fake idol in front of her and Mike. Let’s say Angelina’s reaction on its own wouldn’t sway Alison even if she didn’t have this prior knowledge.
Nick is loving this power. Let’s see how it goes.
TRIBAL COUNCIL #14
Everyone comments on Davie’s “swag” as he enters.
Alison calls out Nick and Kara to rally against Mike.
MIKE: There’s leaving it out on the island and then leaving with a shred of dignity.
Yikes. Overreaction, man. Maybe he’ll write more melodramas from now on.
It’s time to vote.
ALISON quickly votes a very spaced M I K E.
MIKE votes ALISON.
MIKE: In life you may get straight As, but in Survivor you may get a B+.
KARA: I have to vote you because I don’t want to give Angelina the satisfaction of playing an idol correctly.
Alison has a note and a shell with some rope around it. She submits it. The jurors gasp. Angelina is smirking. Mike is bored. Alison notes it is fake.
Angelina giggles over her fake idol, and plays the real idol. She keeps going on about how tough it was to find. Gabby quietly points it out to the other jurors.
FIRST VOTE: MIKE
SECOND VOTE: ALISON
THIRD VOTE: ALISON <3
FOURTH VOTE: Alison
One. Vote. Away. This was the last vote she needed to survive before a tiebreaker. So close, Ali.
Kara has had a very minimal edit so far in the finale. It has been all about Mike, Angelina, and Nick.
Alison fended off the Grim Reaper for a very long time, but after so many narrow escapes, she got her torch snuffed.
No camp life. We head straight to. . .
FINAL INDIVIDUAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE
‘Tis a shame. Angelina would have had a great reaction to Alison going home.
NICK: Let’s see what I can do.
Angelina is surveying the board. She knows this challenge.
It’s the Survivor: Tocantins final immunity challenge. Cambodia and South Africa have also used it as a final immunity challenge. Ghost Island used a gigantic version of this in a team reward challenge post-merge.
The structure seems bigger this year. Angelina kisses the ball before dropping it into the chute.
We’re at two balls.
Then three balls.
Angelina drops. She is out of the challenge. I doubt it matters as she goes to FTC anyway.
Mike White misses. He is out.
Kara and Nick stay focused. I assume they would send each other into the firemaking duel. Kara’s edit has been very very quiet tonight.
Kara drops ten seconds before the fourth ball.
Nick sweeps the finale as he wins the talisman for the third round in a row! Slingshot used to take down the others!
Kara was too excited about the fourth ball that she forgot about the three balls still going. ‘Tis an emotional scene as she feels like a failure.
Nick will certainly be taking Angelina to F3. He’d be a moron if he didn’t.
MIKE: You wanna get pitched?
Hopefully not an euphemism.
Everyone demands there is no way they can win the game. It’s the anti-jury speech.
Nick rounds them up. His decision is easy. He tells them he is taking Angelina.
ANGELINA: I am persuasive! I am a closer!
You are the Mariano Rivera of Survivor, Angie.
Kara and Mike White “study” for the firemaking challenge. Kara makes fire rather easily. Mike White looks terrified when he sees Kara succeed. The anxiety is at an all-time high for him.
TRIBAL COUNCIL #15
Mike’s confessional carries over a solid fifteen seconds into Tribal Council.
Again, these six-person finales are super rushed. There is no alternative.
We cut to the chase pretty damn fast as Probst asks Nick for a name. He is picking Angelina. Awesome. We get a full 39 days of Angelina.
Nick. Angelina. . .and who else?
Mike’s face twitches. If he loses, he hopes to lose quickly.
KARA VS MIKE
Kara partially rips off her clothes. She is ready for this.
Mike turns into a jaguar as he taunts Kara seconds before they begin.
Magnesium scraping fest. I have never tried to make fire but I feel like I can because I have seen this so many damn times. Kara’s flame goes out. I wonder if this will last hours and hours. Mike doesn’t even have a goddamn spark. Oh, he has something. It looks stable. Kara resumes scraping magnesium.
We watch this continue. I wonder how this vote plays out if there wasn’t this silly gimmick 37 seasons into American Survivor. Mike’s fire is maturing. Kara’s flames repeatedly go out. Mike sees the fires on the ropes.
Mike wins the firemaking challenge! It’s a Jabeni Final Three!
This is the first time a 3-person tribe entering merge ALL made it to Final Three.
Kara feels defeated but is smiling. She lost at two challenges that she thought she had in the bag today. Jabeni did it.
Michael Harmstone thought Nick was going to win this, and I think he is gonna be right by a landslide. I am curious to see how much of a fight Mike can put up.
Kara is proud of the game she played. Wow did her edit fade after episode one.
Mike White and Angelina reflect on spending all 39 days together. The Day 39 Tradition that occurred sparingly in the first few years has become a regular tradition since Exile Island.
Each of the Final Three rave about their games. These contestants may be the biggest “Superfan Final Three” we have ever had on day 39.
Mike’s storytelling and Hollywood pitches should be the advantage to put him on equal footing with Nick tonight.
FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL
Probst goes in overdrive to connect the theme of “WHAT the advantage is?” No mention of Jabeni from him.
Elizabeth jumps in. Howdy, y’all Who can split the bamboo? Cut the feces.
Nick talks about the alliance nicknames with individual players. His Big Money move was to KO John.
John says wrestling fans (and porn stars) talk about is the finish. How did Nick outwit deep into the game?
Nick acknowledges his lack of awareness with Carl and Davie’s eliminations. He reconnected with his Jabeni folks.
John asks Mike to talk about outwit but Angelina politely interjects to talk about her position after the Elizabeth TC. She adapted by aligning with Carl and Christian.
As soon as Angelina brings up rice Davie complains a selfless act is about being selfless for the tribe.
Mike says he had Final Two deals with Kara, Nick, Angelina, Christian, and he didn’t trust Gabby because she was catching onto his numerous alliances.
Alison thinks Mike’s sarcasm crossed over to being “biting.” Mike has a very authentic response.
Nick quickly interjects to say he had to play much earlier and harder than Mike and can’t be laid back.
PROBST: Are we good with Outwit?
CHRISTIAN: With outwit? F–k no.
Gabby praises Angelina for being the last woman standing.
Dan disses Mike White’s first attempt at making fire was day 38. Mike thought Dan cutting bamboo was a strong enough hint that there was no point contributing.
After the ladder idol search, Angelina and Nick disagree over whether the fake idol was intended to embarass Alison.
Everyone was asked to talk about how they are the opposite of the role they were assigned. Nick says he is naturally good at puzzles and finding advantages.
Angelina brings up being a military wife. Her whole answer is very well-spoken.
Nick brings up his mom’s drug overdose and his job of keeping people out of prison and get them to opt for rehab. Much like Angelina, he has a hell of a speech.
Mike’s speech is strong too. We could very well have a 4-3-3 vote to end this. . .but I somehow think Angelina will finish this in second place ahead of Mike White.
We cut to a 13 year old Simone who has to vote for who she thinks will win. Probst squats awkwardly. We’re on pace for a very short reunion show.
It’s time to vote for a winner.
Hey, there’s Alec.
Mike plays with his teeth.
JOHN votes NICK.
Dan bails up the steps. The David in his footing comes out.
Gabby is crying at the urn.
Davie prays at the urn. Is that a first?
Everyone is very puzzled when voting.
CHRISTIAN votes MIKE for his transformative game.
Sigh. No votes for Angelina. Tragic.
Probst says to the cast that it is the best time he has had on Survivor in a very long time. Mike White’s beard is gone, sadly. He no longer looks like an elderly man.
FIRST VOTE: NICK
SECOND VOTE: MIKE
THIRD VOTE: MIKE
FOURTH VOTE: MIKE <3
3-1. Oh boy.
FIFTH VOTE: NICK
SIXTH VOTE: NICK
SEVENTH VOTE: NICK
EIGHTH VOTE: NICK
5-3. He is winning this. No tie.
NINTH VOTE: KENTUCKY NICK
7-3 victory. He did it.
Simone voted Nick! It’s 8-3!
Christian, Alison, and Kara voted Mike–that’s three of the last four boots.
Nick, Mike White, Angelina, the jacket, the rice, and restaurant discounts.
Dan is the first non-F3 interview with the Idol Nullifier. Carl’s bing!
Christian pontificates about his expansive vocabulary.
Gabby speaks now. Her and Christian are still friends.
Natalie hated her edit.
Kara lost 26 pounds. Alison lost 27 pounds. Davie lost 36 pounds. Dan lost 26 MORE pounds.
Big Tom Buchanan lost EIGHTY pounds in Survivor: Africa.
Pat was evacuated. He wants to play again.
Now time for Internet outrage. Nevermind, they’re not explaining what the theme means. We see Wentworth, Joe, Aubry, and David Wright, though.
And that’s David vs. Goliath. My expectations were set low for the finale because American Survivor is incapable of having a good finale given the format alone.
NZ Survivor had one of the most incredible finales ever.
Aussie Survivor has had absolutely epic finales all three seasons in a row.
South Africa Survivor had the biggest M. Night Shyamalan finale we have seen in a very long time in terms of an unexpected winner.
Think of the last good US Survivor finale we have watched. The general theme with Millennials vs. Gen X, Kaoh Rong, Cambodia, and HHH has been “it was solid for ten episodes. . .then it just sorta got paralyzed by twists and not finding the right notes to strike in the endgame.”
At this point, if you are watching American Survivor and still angry by how the finale played out, you really only have yourself to blame because this is the standard that has been clearly established nearly four years ago. Why keep subjecting yourself to this? Catch up on all of the seasons of Wie is de Mol or De Mol Belgie and become a more productive RTV conoisseur.
All I can say is this: Thank God for Angelina’s presence to make it entertaining in the final four days of the game.
Kara being eliminated without a single vote against her is the next piece of evidence in the “Why The Firemaking Tiebreaker Twist is Silly” department. She had a great shot at winning this game if she had made it to F3. She probably had a decent chance of turning Nick and Angelina against Mike White.
I predicted Nick would beat Mike White and Angelina in a F3. I feel proud of myself for that one. Of course the question we will all be asking is if Nick could have saved his neck without winning individual immunity in the last three rounds of the game. I must say the last trio of challenges weren’t the most compelling to watch. The Tocantins concentration challenge is one of my least favourite Final Immunity Challenges in Survivor–I feel it always to be a battle of willpower rather than concentration and/or balance. Let’s try to forget those lillie pads from Survivor: Exile Island.
The outcome for how this would play out week-to-week was tougher to figure out given the much more level editing this year. It’s neat to see more than four characters get airtime in a 20-person season.
Nick may not have had any votes cast against him, but he wasn’t the best at racking up Elimination Votes. He was a player who was skilled at making bonds with players. I am glad he could beat out Mike White given Mike White’s personal relationship with Probst pre-season and already being a recognizable figure–Nick had to make all of his relationships organically. What a recovery from being Pat’s day one target. Maybe he secretly shoved Pat on the boat and nobody saw it. We call it the “Starboard Alliance” or the “Natalie Wood Alliance” in Nick’s long list of alliance nicknames.
Nick may not be the most compelling winner, and holy heck are there mixed reactions to him winning given controversies outside of the game, but hey, he won and it’d be a dickish move for us to take that away from him.
Although David vs. Goliath still felt paralyzed by twists at times, the characters and the Idol Nullifier/Twist Canceler gave us some much-needed highlights. We lost some key pre-merge characters, but luckily Angelina, Christian, Davie, and Carl picked up the slack. We didn’t have the most compelling people to play out the last episode or two of the game.
Now to rank the cast!
13) Mike White
Yeah. This was a tough cast to rank. Not as good as Survivor NZ or South African Survivor‘s cast this year, but definitely a big improvement over Ghost Island.
Now we just have a couple weeks before Dutch Mole (Wie is de Mol) starts up in January. They filmed it in Colombia this year and should be a real treat to watch! Then we just got to wait on Hunted UK and De Mol Belgie to occupy our spring.
Peace out and just chill. . .til the next episode.
P.S. Here are my updated full Survivor season rankings.
1) Pearl Islands
4) Australian Survivor 2017
6) Australian Survivor 2016
7) Survivor New Zealand: Thailand
9) Survivor South Africa: Philippines
15) San Juan Del Sur
16) Australian Survivor 2018
17) Heroes vs. Villains
21) Kaoh Rong
22) Worlds Apart
24) David vs. Goliath
25) Millennials vs. Gen X
27) Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
28) Cambodia: Second Chances
32) Cook Islands
33) Australian Outback
34) Survivor New Zealand: Nicaragua
35) Ghost Island
36) Blood vs. Water
37) Game Changers
38) South Pacific
39) All Stars
40) Exile Island
42) One World
43) Redemption Island