Is your body ready? Mine isn’t ready. Do check out my pre-finale recap before reading this one. It’s chock full of analysis of each character and is worth checking out if you want a refresher on what to possibly expect tonight. This will be a LONG one so let’s not waste any time.
Too Long Didn’t Watch
Jeff welcomes us to the finale episode live in the studio audience. He shows us the early boots as well as the current jury. Everyone looks beautiful. Angela in particular catches my eye with her sleek black dress and swooping blonde hair. Jeff claims this is the most watched season ever. Did I hear that right? I find that hard to believe. In my Marlo Hampton voice, “where are the receipts?!”
We’re shown a flashback of the season highlighting each character remaining. Sebastian plays with his heart instead of strategy. Donathan has adapted to playing the game despite being a fish out of water but has recently struggled due to causing drama with his “truth bombs”. Laurel has built her game around unwavering loyalty to her allies from Naviti. Angela has been on the outside most of the game. Wendell’s social game and partnership with Domenick has made him a huge threat. Domenick’s brash attitude was superseded by his good strategic game moves.
We finally get back to the current time in-game, and everyone is weirded out by how Donathan has gone nuclear on everyone. Laurel tells Donathan that he almost voted himself off. I love that they still need subtitles for Donathan. Sebastian all of a sudden tells us he’s sick of being in the shadows of Domenick and Wendell and claims he’s going to make a big move with his extra vote. Sebastian is too little too late. Speaking of Sea Bass, Domenick is ready to take him out due to him potentially being a threat in challenges and having played a “clean” game thus far. I think he means nonexistent game.
We get to one of the biggest mazes they’ve ever done on Survivor. It’s prodigious! For immunity, they will race through this maze collecting pieces to solve a puzzle. They’re also playing for a steak & potatoes dinner. Donathan is immediately lost. Domenick is also struggling. Sebastian gets back first with his pieces, but Laurel and Wendell aren’t far behind. Even Angela is competitive at this point! Donathan yells that he finally found his 3rd bag while everyone else works on their puzzle. Laurel and Angela haven’t made any progress on their puzzle while Wendell and Domenick fight for immunity. Wendell screams to Jeff that he’s done with his puzzle as to not make the same mistake he did last time. Wendell picks Sebastian and Angela to join him on the reward. Laurel rolls her eyes at the obvious strategic reasons behind his picks. Laurel is pissed that Wendell picked her “two biggest enemies” to partake in reward. She says she can’t take it anymore and that she’s coming after the boys. Where have we heard this before?
Wendell explains that he wants to curry favor with Angela and Sebastian before sending them on the jury which makes perfect sense. The three of them discuss voting Donathan off, because he’s changed since the beginning. This is a stupid reason that has nothing to do with the game. Sebastian says he’s going fishing, and he wants someone big hinting at taking out Domenick. Back at camp, Laurel is complaining hardcore about Wendell’s decision, and I can’t roll my eyes harder.
Angela, Sebastian and Donathan all discuss potentially voting against Domenick and crossing their fingers for a blindside. Sebastian tells them both that he has an extra vote that he can use against them. Angela feels really good about being in a power position. She’s delusional. She immediately goes to Domenick to rat out their plan. What an idiot!! Little does she know that her only chance is to align with Sebastian and Donathan. Donathan also spills the beans to Laurel about Sebastian’s extra vote and desire to blindside Domenick. These people are so so so stupid! Domenick questions whether he should play his idol for tonight or to save it to guarantee himself Final 4. If he doesn’t play his idol, that’s silly, but if he knows his competitors are as stupid as we do then he’ll probably be fine tonight.
At tribal council, Donathan and Sebastian play charades about Donathan going home, but Domenick calls them out on the lies they’re telling. Domenick is being super aggressive towards both Sebastian and Donathan. He’s showing the ugly side we’ve seen before. He says he’s got “merchandise” in the form of hidden immunity idols. Wendell starts fighting with Donathan, and they have an intense back and forth sarcastically calling each other “bro”. The way both Wendell and Domenick are trying to spin this as Donathan being disloyal is kind of silly as if they haven’t promised everyone everything under the sun. Domenick suddenly gives Jeff his fake idol early on. Votes are read: 1 Domenick, 1 Donathan, 1 Sebastian. 2 Sebastian and the 3rd comes in for Sebastian. Wait, so Sebastian didn’t even fucking vote with Donathan and didn’t use his vote doubler despite it being the last night to do so?!?! This round was a total clown fiesta.
I can’t understand the stupidity of what I just watched. Before heading into the immunity challenge, just so you know, both Wendell and Domenick will be playing their hidden immunity idols tonight, guaranteeing them both Final 4. This means one of Laurel, Donathan or Angela are going home. This is why I said Laurel was less than smart for not making them use their idols earlier. They have so much safety and influence. She’s definitely in danger right now. The immunity is a basic obstacle course through water and sand. Wendell and Laurel are in the lead. The puzzle at the end is simply 4 pieces built into a pyramid but is proving to be truly difficult! Wendell quickly wins his second immunity in a row and has the ability to even give his idol to someone else. He’ll probably choose Laurel to reward her ridiculous loyalty to him.
We get back to camp, and Domenick is disappointed that Wendell is getting another heads up in terms of his resume building. Domenick starts weighing his options between booting Angela, Laurel and Donathan. Laurel realizes that her game fucking sucks and she’s at the mercy of Wendell and Domenick tonight. She says to them both that she would take them both to the end. Donathan lies saying he wants to go to the end suddenly with Domenick. Domenick sees through all of the bullshit, because these players are stupid. Domenick wants to bring a “non-factor” to the end with him and Wendell, basically insinuating that he wants to boot Laurel. Wendell says he could make a big move with his idol play tonight and reverse the curse that Erik made when he gave his idol away. Could he possibly save Laurel with his idol? That would be silly, Wendell.
Tribal Council is here, and I’m on edge. Everyone agrees that tonight’s decision is up to Wendell and Domenick. Donathan makes the case that he’s the weakest challenge competitor so it’s better for him to be taken to the end. Laurel hopes that her loyalty will have Wendell save her, but Donathan quips that it’s getting down to the “nitty gritty” and loyalty doesn’t matter at the end. Donathan ends up writing Laurel’s name down, and I’m not really that mad about it. The votes are tallied. Domenick plays his idol for himself. Wendell decides to play his idol on Laurel, claiming she has been like a sister to him in the game. This is all grandstanding for the jury. Will it pay off? We’ll see. In the end, the gesture meant nothing as Donathan receives all of the votes. He goes out with a smile and thanks everyone for the most wonderful experience in his life.
We see Donathan in real time getting a positive spin on his experience on Survivor. Jeff tells us that Sia, our very own “Survivor benefactor” who previously gave Tai a bunch of money, is giving Donathan $10k to help with his expenses. And there’s no “gift tax” because it’s less than $14k. Well, I take back what I said, Donathan played an amazing game this season to get a nice coin like that from Sia.
Here we are at the final immunity challenge! Survivors will stack balls on wobbly stands while standing on a wobbly platform. This challenge is lacking in lust. Remember last season’s “advantage” that Chrissy had from winning the last challenge? Well, that stupid twist is back and presumably here to stay. Whoever wins will get to take one person to the end while the other two battle in a fire-making challenge. The wind has been taken out of my sails for this finale. What about you? Wendell’s butt looks really nice during this challenge. We see big falls from Domenick, Wendell and Angela. Laurel seems to be completely out of this challenge. Domenick ends up winning the final immunity challenge! He also receives a note that he will read in private. This forced fire-making in the Final 4 is so stupid, because it doesn’t actually give the players a chance to unanimously vote someone out 3-1. You can thank the rigged finale of last season for this.
On Ghost Island, the focus is on Domenick’s decision. Wendell feels confident in his fire-making abilities, because he knows Domenick isn’t going to bring him to the end. Domenick recommends to Laurel that she practice making fire. Laurel complains about the position that she put herself in, and I can’t help but not feel any sympathy for her. She says Angela is much better because she tends to the fire more. Domenick thinks it’s disrespectful that Laurel has given up on herself. Angela is confident about making fire but pitches to Domenick that Laurel is a bigger jury threat than she is, hoping that he makes Laurel and Wendell fight it out instead. Domenick is more worried about potentially having Angela get rid of Wendell in the fire making challenge, because that would lead to a guaranteed win for him.
We get a montage of final immunity winners who made horrible choices like Tina, Woo and Culpepper. Domenick doesn’t think Angela can beat Wendell so he contemplates a monumental move of giving immunity away to make fire himself against Wendell. He sounds crazy. The two boys hug it out before heading to Tribal Council.
We get to the penultimate Tribal Council, and I’m immediately in awe of how great Donathan looks! The irony isn’t lost on me that plaid is his color. Both Laurel and Angela make pitches why Domenick should take them to the end. Wendell doesn’t even make a case. Domenick explains why he brought the urn from Cagayan and hopes he can reverse that curse. Domenick ends up choosing to Laurel to take to the end. There is a huge kerfuffle about who sits at what colored seat since the orange Malolo color is supposedly cursed. Wendell ends up asking to be seated in Naviti, and Angela obliges. Wendell gets a flame quickly, but it’s blown out. Angela’s flame goes out too. Both are doing really well, but the wind is really intense. Wendell has gotten a flame and is piling more on now. Wendell stares over at Domenick as his flame rages on. Malolo loses again even in the finale. Angela gives hugs to everyone before leaving.
It’s the end of the game, and we get beautiful shots of the Final 3 enjoying themselves and appreciating the experience they’ve shared. Wendell calls himself a silent assassin and claims his social connections really determined the way this game went. Laurel talks about how her confidence has grown, and she feels like an underdog. She says her game wasn’t flashy, but that her saving Dom and Wendell is what controlled the game. Domenick gets a heroic confessional about how he’s played this game for his family. He knows he’s up against two great competitors but that his game is by far the best. He hopes his edges aren’t too sharp for the jury.
I feel like I’ve been recapping the finale for 5 hours, but don’t worry, it’s almost over. Angela is SMOKING HOT when we get to the Final Tribal Council! Kellyn starts us off first with a basic question about connecting socially. Laurel says her big move was exposing Desiree. Michael calls her out on that actually being a bad move. Michael says Domenick has the strongest social game with most people out there. Wendell says while he didn’t have many conversations, the ones he did were more genuine. Chris wants to know which of Wendell or Domenick was the mastermind. Lots of arguing about who brought in the most allies. Wendell takes a beating.
We get to the physical portion of the game, and Laurel says she never had to rely on challenges to stay in the game, instead relying on her social connections. Wendell talks about how helpful he was around camp, but is rudely interrupted by Michael to get into the idol management of both Wendell and Domenick. Sebastian calls Domenick out on how nasty he was to him and Donathan the night Sebastian was blindsided. Sebastian’s feelings are hurt; Kellyn adds her two cents about Domenick being a nasty person. I can’t say they’re wrong about his attitude being off-putting. Pre-merge Domenick was just as unbearable to me as Chris.
The last portion of the council is outlasting the others. Laurel says the big move to take Wendell and Domenick out would have been a big move for everyone but her. She lays out a very convincing case as to why she’s gotten to the end. I don’t think the jury is buying it, but I see her point. Domenick tries to ease the tensions people have towards his nasty attitude and implores them to vote with their heart and respect for the game. We haven’t heard a single word from Jenna, Libby, Angela or Chelsea. This format is stupid. Wendell says that he was methodical and played a good well rounded game.
It’s time for the big vote! Michael votes for Domenick. Sebastian votes for Wendell. He looks completely high off his ass. Chris Noble predictably votes for Domenick. Kellyn votes for Wendell sighting him as the brains behind the operation. Does Laurel not get a single vote? I could have told you that was going to happen. OH WOW! Jeff says he’s going to read the votes right now instead of taking them to L.A. Everyone’s mouth is dropped including mine. I’m shaking! Everyone at tribal council including the jury is fucking SHOOK! 3 votes each for Domenick and Wendell. The 4th goes to Domenick. Another for Wendell. 5 votes for Domenick. Last vote… is for Wendell, and we have a tie! Laurel just became the last juror of the game and has to vote for the winner. Wow! Ok so this last twist may have saved the entire finale for me in terms of entertainment value Laurel appears to cry as she casts her vote. Wendell has tears in his eyes. WOW! So now Jeff is taking that last vote to L.A. to reveal! Sorry this last paragraph reads like the twitter feed of a 15-year old gay boy. The last vote is revealed for… WENDELL! I’M SO HAPPY!
Because I’m sure the comment section will be crazy and I haven’t had time to process the finale, I will forgo “Cho’s Top Takeaways”. Instead, I want to thank everyone on my Aunt TT’s blog for making my first season recapping Survivor an amazing experience! I’ve had so much fun and appreciate all of the comments and twitter follows. Please do let me know in the comment section what your thoughts are on the finale. Are you happy with Wendell winning? What do you think about mostly original Malolo (except Laurel/Donathan) voting for Domenick while original Naviti voted for Wendell? What are your thoughts on the reunion? Also, what do you think about me doing a follow-up post on some interesting tidbits on the cast sometime next week like Jenna and Sebastian choosing to date in real life? Lastly, what do you think about the theme of next season being David vs Goliath?