Hey, it’s Cho and I’m back with the last Survivor 40 recap of the season! I’m recapping this episode a day late, and I’m so surprised that I haven’t been spoiled yet. It’s such a pain for me to avoid twitter, because I LOVE tweeting so much! If you haven’t checked me out on there, I’d like to think I’m pretty hilarious. And if you didn’t check out last week’s 2 hour episode, you need to read that recap before getting into the whirlwind that is THIS recap!
We start the finale with Jeff zooming in to the viewers. Tonight is definitely different thanks to Miss Rona. Filming from his garage, it’s all very low budget but endearing at the same time. What isn’t low budget is that someone is about to be awarded 2 million dollars. This really has been the greatest season ever! They literally have all 20 Survivors on zoom. Jeff then tells us that they won’t even have a reunion. That’s a huge bummer. Take notes on how to host a reunion from Bravo please.
Surviving The Edge of Extinction
It’s day 35, and it’s time for someone to battle back into the game. Hard to believe that there’s only 4 days left until the game technically ends, right? I think it’s far too late to have another person return, but here we go LET’S GO NATALIE! The challenge is a fence & post obstacle and ends with a race through a ball maze. Natalie gets to skip a lot of the challenge due to her advantages. The music is really intense during the challenge. NATALIE IS STRUGGLING ON THE FIRST SECTION! Wendell, Parvati and Yul are on her tail already. Natalie is completely blowing this challenge, and I just can’t handle this finale starting off like this.
2020 has fucked us over enough. Wendell, who has arguably been the biggest disappointment this season, is in the lead, and I just can’t. I’m panicking. Natalie suddenly wins her way back in!! She breaks down in tears. We get really touching moments from several people from the edge. They’re all crying and sharing their perspectives. This is incredible. We get even more zoom calls from the Survivors. I’m totally not crying.
Natalie has such a great comeback story, and Tony is threatened by this. Natalie knows she needs to work hard to create drama and dissension. She starts right in by saying Tony is the favorite in the eye of the jury’s eyes. Tony knows that Natalie is in a powerful position, because she can say whatever the fuck she wants and no one can dispute it. Sarah doesn’t think Natalie is as big of a jury threat as she actually is. Tony argues that if Natalie gets to the end, she wins. Sarah doubts how hard she needs to work to prove that she had an equal if not more significant role in her partnership with Tony.
Headed For an Underdog Victory?!
The immunity challenge looks really fun especially with the huge water slide. It’s one of those super cool obstacle courses where you can choose which section you do first. Ben is in a huge lead, but Tony, Natalie and Sarah aren’t far. Ben, Natalie and Tony begin working on their puzzles. Michele is incredibly far behind, but she looks like she’s having fun at least!
Thing is that Michele did this challenge in her original season and easily solved the 3-tier puzzle so there’s still hope. She finally joins everyone to start working. And fuck, just like that, Michele is already AHEAD of the others with her first tier!! Everyone starts looking at Michele’s puzzle and she calls them a bunch of cheaters! We’ve got a race between her and Natalie! Michele quickly gets her second tier and goes on to complete her 3rd winning her second immunity challenge in a row!
Natalie takes Michele aside in order to bridge some trust with her as someone that is also on the bottom. This is the ultimate underdog alliance right here! Natalie shares her idol with Michele and they scheme on a way of breaking up the majority 4-person alliance of Tony, Sarah, Denise and Ben. Michele is excited that she has an opportunity to actually successfully make a move tonight with the help of Natalie. They both are wary of Tony’s idol, so they start thinking of Ben and Sarah as backup votes.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Tony starts scheming about a way of causing a tie vote in case of an idol. He wants to throw 2 votes against Natalie and 2 against Denise, but Ben is against that because he’s trying to value his relationship with Denise. He says last time he didn’t play a good social game, but this time he’s going to honor his allies. Ben and Sarah don’t believe Natalie even has an idol. They are naive. Did they not just see Natalie play 3 advantages in the battle back challenge?! I’m with Tony, I’d be assuming she had all the superpowers at this point!
I know some of y’all don’t like Tony, but homie knows this fucking game inside and out. His intuition is telling him the truth, and if he and Ben burn their idols, Sarah ends up a likely target. He tries to convince Sarah that the easiest thing to do is to simply vote Denise out so that they can save their idols at the next round. Sarah is adamant that Natalie doesn’t have an idol and starts yelling at Tony to calm down. She claims that she’s in control and knows what’s going on which means she’s about to be blindsided 5 minutes from now. For once, Tony isn’t just being a paranoid trainwreck.
Obviously, the focus of this tribal council is Natalie and her threat level in the game since coming back from the Edge of Extinction. Sarah says that her info about Tony being the one most respected by the jury really shook her to her core. She brings up the gender bias because of the backlash she got from winning her season. She was called a bitch, fake and 2-faced while guys who win are called great players. She says she will not be constrained by that gender bias anymore and that guilt has been lifted.
Natalie hopes to use Michele to break up the 4 person alliance. She doubles down on her argument that they are going to let Tony win 2 million dollars if they don’t do anything about it. It’s time to vote. The jury is all cleaned up now by the way. They look great. Natalie plays her idol. We get shocking stares from Sarah, Ben and Denise while Tony says “I told you so! I knew it!” Tony then plays his idol. Ben then plays his idol! Wow. Jeff reads the votes: Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, Ben, Ben. We have a 0-0 tie!
Jeff explains that if a tie occurs between Denise and Sarah that they will have to fight it out with fire. This is sad seeing Sarah leave like this. Jeff reads the votes: Denise, Denise and Denise is voted out 4-0?! That was surprising. I guess they thought Denise was a bigger jury threat than Sarah. Denise is just happy that she and she alone will be forever called “The Queen Slayer”.
The Last Hidden Immunity Idol
Tony immediately chastises Ben and Sarah for not listening to him. If they had simply voted out Denise, they would still have two idols in their pockets to use at the final 5. Instead, they burnt two idols and luckily had the votes to take Denise out in a revote. I would be livid if I were Tony. However, he knows that with 3 idols being played in one night, there has to be one rehidden. He literally starts searching in the middle of the night using handmade lanterns to see.Unfortunately for Tony, the sun comes up and now everyone has woken up to start searching for the idol. It’s awkward watching everyone casually search amongst one another. Natalie ends up finding the hidden immunity idol!!
The immunity challenge is super boring. All you need to know is that Tony won, and everyone is worried about Natalie having an idol. Tony instructs Sarah to chat with the girls while he hides in the aerial spynest. Sarah leads Natalie to the well and she sees the idol in her sleeve. I’m sure Natalie is pissed, but she plays it off cool and tells Sarah where she found it and that she wants to target Ben. Tony is PISSED. He’s also bruised from sitting uncomfortably in the tree for an hour while he eavesdropped. Ha! Tony says how spot on he is. They target Michele to go home.
Leaving The Game With Friends
Ben and Sarah talk about where the idol will be played, and Ben suddenly tells Sarah that she has permission to write his name down so that she can pad her resume and prove that she wasn’t dragged to the end by Tony. Ben is dead serious and says that she can only go through with this if it means she wins at the very end. Sarah cries. Ben is crying. I’m DEFINITELY not crying! I’ve had an emotional few weeks. I’ve spent all season hating Ben only to now love him. 2020 won’t stop mindfucking me. I’m tired on so many levels. Ben says he’s going to walk away from this season having actual friends unlike last time when he made a lot of enemies.
They get really heavy during tribal council. This is the best tv show in mankind’s history. Ben is trying to represent his family in a better light by being more positive. Jeremy, who is on the jury and feuded with Ben all season, rolls his eyes. Tony has now won immunity for the 4th time and everyone knows Natalie is going to play an idol. It’s time to vote. I’m intrigued with what Sarah decides. Natalie plays her idol for herself while in tears. Jeff reads the votes: Ben, Michele, Ben, Michele and the last vote is for… Ben! Tony is audibly surprised. Ben really left on a good note.
The Final Decision
We go right into the final immunity challenge which is one of those terrifying feats where they have to drop balls down a shoot and catch them with one hand! I always sweat during this challenge. Jeff reminds us that Michele is the only one who won the final challenge in their season. He also tells us that everyone that has won this specific challenge has gone on to win the game. Tony is first out! My palms are sweaty, come on Michele! Sarah is out. You have to respect them both as competitors. Natalie keeps having close calls, while Michele has been super zen. Natalie pulls out the win!
Natalie now has a lot to think about in terms of who to bring with her and who to force into a fire making competition. Michele seems to easily make fire while Tony struggles a lot. He’s doing more talking and should be practicing more often. Natalie’s goal is to get rid of Tony before the final tribal council. She’s afraid that if she has Sarah beat him that it will only strengthen Sarah’s case to win. Her other option is to make Michele compete against Tony. Michele says that winning a fire making challenge may be what she needs to do in order to win in the end.
An Epic Fire-Making Challenge
We get to tribal council, and Natalie relishes the fact that she has the last decision to make in the game after being voted off first. Sarah cries as she says that she wants to make fire against Tony. Michele also says she’s been practicing all day and wants nothing more than to beat Tony. Then, Tony calls Natalie out on why she won’t make fire against him while Michele and Sarah are clamoring to prove themselves to the jury. This could be a mistake for Natalie in front of the jury. Chris paved the way on how to win from the Edge.
Natalie makes Sarah and Tony compete. We’re about to see the end of “Cops R Us”. Tony gets a tiny bit of flame started and is now nurturing it. Sarah then gets her flame going. This is a competition! Sarah’s flame is so close, but then it goes down. Now Tony’s is getting higher after diminishing prior. Sarah is back in it. THIS IS THE CLOSEST FIRE MAKING CHALLENGE EVER! Tony wins!! Him and Sarah embrace and are in complete tears. Tony is ugly crying and refusing to look at the camera. If you’re taking a drink every time Cho cries, then you probably need your stomach pumped by now.
I honestly don’t care who wins at this point. I think all three left are MORE than deserving in different ways. I haven’t had a season like this where I would honestly be completely satisfied with anyone winning. I do prefer Tony at this point, but let’s see how it all plays out! They each enjoy the breakfast and reflect on their own accomplishments. Tony makes the case that he’s good at all aspects of the game while Natalie’s strength was mostly challenges and Michele was the social game. He wants to join Sandra as Survivor royalty and be the King of Survivor.
At Tribal Council, Denise wants to know what their social missteps were. Natalie says she over relied on her superficial value to others instead of actively forging alliances and relationships. Michele says her weak point was not having a majority alliance despite having many strong individual allies. Nick has the audacity to be bitter towards Tony. Jeremy as well. Tony calls them out on their hypocrisy in that they were gunning for him as well.
Rob wants to know why Natalie isolated herself from him, Amber, Ethan, Yul, and Wendell when they are jury members whose votes she needs?! This social faux pas is news to us, which is why we need 15-20 minute episodes of Extinction EVERY week on CBS All Access. Natalie explains that her acquisition of advantages the last week on the edge created a rift with her relationships, because she was trying to be secretive.
Wendell wants Michele to explain her outwit portion of the game. She explains that she didn’t have a majority alliance to support her or protect her. Instead, she was forced to be adaptable and move within the cracks every week. Ben says that as a fellow “controversial winner”, he understands why Michele won her season and is proud of her accomplishments in this one.
Wendell wants to know everything Natalie won. She says if the social aspect of outwit is her weak point in the game, this is where she definitely shined. She begins to list them all off: hidden immunity idol, safety without power, steal an advantage, extortion, the disadvantage twist, log challenge, coconut challenge and then the battle back challenge advantages. Whew! Natalie says she was still actively playing the game and impacting everyone else throughout the season. Michele says winning immunity during a clutch round enabled her to see another round which could dramatically change the dynamic.
Rob calls Natalie out on her not stepping up to the fire making challenge against Tony. She says that Natalie really wanted to decimate the majority alliance, and she’s at peace being the one to accomplish that. Michele says that the edge was great for her, because her allies were all there to support her. She brings up the fact that she was gifted the most fire tokens in the game which speaks well of her ability to make friends.
Natalie says that she did what seemed impossible: making it to the end despite being voted out first and dismantling this season’s most powerful alliance. Michele says she only went to 6 tribals in her original season compared to 15 out of 19 this season. She’s not a beast in challenges like Natalie and she can’t build spyshacks like Tony, but she can be herself and win the hearts of others. Tony says his work ethic is unmatched despite the fact that no one ever wrote his name down this season.
New Royalty Is Crowned
The jury then starts to congratulate each of them about their games and how worthy they all are before getting ready to vote. Sophie looks like she’s on her death bed or simply needs a nap. It’s probably both. This is the largest jury ever. Rob votes for Tony. Parvati votes for Natalie. Tyson votes for Natalie. Nick votes for Michele I think, but it isn’t shown. Ben votes for Tony. Jeff has everyone on zoom in real time. Fuck, Michele is HOT! They all bring their families into the camera. Jeff starts to read the votes: Tony, Natalie, Natalie, Tony, Natalie, Tony, Natalie, Tony 5-5 tie with Michele getting 0. Tony, Tony, Tony, Tony, and Tony is officially the King of Survivor!
So what do we think everyone?! I literally cried at least 3 times tonight. What a beautiful show. I wish Michele had at least received a single vote, but I’m happy with Tony being crowned the King of Survivor. What did you think? Let me know in the comment section below! Please do me a HUGE favor and check out my personal blog where I review everyday items that could add massive value to your life!