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Dec 20, 2009

Survivor: Samoa Episode 15 (The Finale!) Recap/Live Blog

Are you ready for a marathon live blogging extraordinaire? Because I'm not sure that I am, but I'm gonna do it anyway.

Five are left: oil man Russell, law student Jaison, doctor Natalie, and Prayer Warriors (an oxymoron if ever there was one) Natalie and Brett. One thing seems certain: if Brettt (aka Haley Joel Osment) makes the final three, the victory is all but his, provided that the most deserving player, Russ, does not a) also make the final and b) convince the jury that the most deserving player in many seasons should get their votes despite his millionaire status, asshole personality and Foa Foa membership. All that said, I'm going to predict P.W. Natalie as the eventual victor. Let the three-hour bonanza begin!

7:07: How could I forget - the biggest question of the night is not such a trivial matter as who will win, but will the producers yet again dump 10 minutes of the final show with the lame, forced Walk of the Dead? My family and I will now metamorphosize into Prayer Warriors with our shared focus being to eliminate this dreaded event.

7:10: Russell and the rest of the Foa Foans, fear not: Haley Joel will not be winning two more Immunity Challenges in a row. Will not. Even the evil CBS show runners, who will be trying their damnedest to ensure Brett victories will not be able to arrange that.

7:12: How much weight has Russell lost? Eat sh*t, Biggest Loser. He looks positively svelte. By the same token, Natalie and Jaison look thinner than Brittany Murphy. Ouch...too soon?

7:13: Obstacle course/puzzle for the I.C. I'm on board for that, and even more psyched by Russ's early domination.

7:15: Everybody's startin' to come together, Jeff! You should recycle all of your phrases. I sense two fingers on each hand being raised soon...

7:16: Sonuvabitchin' Brett wins it. I can only hope that in addition to winning immunity that he also earns some charisma. And get that smug little smirk off his face, too.

7:20: Natalie's worried about getting voted off because she's the weakest one? With another Immunity Challenge remaining, wouldn't that be something that you' really want in a competitor? Granted, I wouldn't want to take her to the finale if I were one of the other players, but that's because of a lack of weakness when it comes to final votes.

7:23: I brought you the Haley Joel/Brett resemblance last week and I have a new one for you this week (don't ask me why it takes more than a dozen weeks for this - you just can't rush genius, I guess). This week's Celebrity Resemblance is: Mick has taken to reminding me of FlashForward's Joseph Fiennes. Now if only he could sell the similarities more by constantly brooding and turning on all of his tribemates.

7:25: I just got finished re-watching Se7en last night; makes seeing Dave all the more creepy.

7:26: Okay, enough of all this celebrity nonsense. There's a game to be played here, and we've come to the first Tribal Council. Funny that all of the talk has centered around voting off Mick, Jaison and/or Natalie. One big, big name is seriously missing from the footage - why isn't that trio angling to oust Rusty?

7:29: It's absolutely incredible that the entire jury is made up of former Galu members. Has this ever happened? Even the Stephanie/Bobby Jon season had two of them remaining.

7:31: Buh-bye, Jaison. Can't wait to see who you're voting for...

7:31: And here I was just thinking aloud that Jaison's vote would likely be for Russell. Apparently not. Then again, I think we've had many a player that is initially pissed off at members of their tribe that vote them off, swearing that they will vote for the other tribe's player, only to settle down after having a few days/weeks to think it over.

7:36: Brett: "If I don't win [the next Immunity Challenge], I'm probably gonna be the next one to go home." Ya think so, Doctor?!?!?! No one ever accused Brett of being a John (rocket scientist).

7:38: I know he's always this way, so I really shouldn't be looking too deeply at it, but Russ's cockiness over his assurance of making the final three really, really ---

7:39: WAIT JUST A GOTDAMN MINUTE! BOOOOO!!!! You know what that means? It's Walk of the Dead time!!! Let's actually go pay attention this time and see if there's something we normally miss in this obviously brilliant segment:

Marissa: Nope, don't remember you.

Mike: Hey, it's Jeffrey Tambor. I do remember you, though only because of that reason.

Betsy: You were the cop, right? Meh.

Ben: The name doth not ring a bell. Oh, but the face does. One of the biggest d*cks this show has seen in some time. Nice to hear honesty from Mick: "I wasn't sorry to see him go." Awesome - that's the kind of reaction I've been waiting seasons upon seasons to hear.

Yasmin: Another idiot. But you keep that confidence, hon.

Ashley: If she weren't blond and young, I wouldn't know who she was. But since she was, I know that she was part of Russ's "Dumb Girl Alliance." Rusty, so awesome.

Russell: Vernon Davis!

Liz: I had forgotten you as well. For good reason.

Erik: The inhabitant of my favorite part of this season: the Tree Cave Hole.

Kelly: Boy, we never got to know you at all, other than for being a pseudo-ScarJo.

Laura: You sucked, and I'm glad you're gone.

John: I had come to like John, but he got a bit wacky towards the end there. Tough luck, genius.

Danger Dave: The sight of you scares me.

Monica: See comments for Laura (to a lesser degree).

Shambo: Definitely a memorable character. Not to be confused with likable. I wouldn't be surprised to see her on some future All-Star season, despite the fact that she's about the farthest thing from an all-star.

Jaison: Not sure how you made it that far considering that neither your brains nor your athletic prowess proved to be as good as they seemed to be. Chalk it up to an early alliance that overcame insurmountable odds.

7:49: Alright, where was I? Yes, Russell's cockiness about making the final three. Something about those comments, or the timing or placement of them, put the fear into me. Call it Insider's Insight® Intuition.

7:52: Once again, I don't like the final Immunity Challenge. Balancing a statue on a pole? I want them to feel immense pain and utilize endurance and stamina to win this challenge. How long can you hold your breath underwater or walk on hot coals or something like that. Balance is such a fluky thing. I'd end up sneezing...

7:55: Were the placards with the contestants' names in front of them really necessary? There are only four of them - I think we know who they all are at this point.

7:56: Effing christ on a stick. Down to two people left...and of course, Brett is one of them.

7:57: To add to the bullshit of a balance challenge, the wind picks up. Amazingly, it doesn't knock off either player's statue. In other news, I predict a Brett win all the way.

7:58: Ok, I will admit that this is intense.

7:59: I just screamed "YES!" as Brett's statue fell. This is less a knock against Brett and more of a vote for Rusty. I'm fairly certain that Russ ain't winning the show, but it would have been ludicrous for him to not have even been given the chance...and even if he did make the final three, yet along with Brett, it's almost certain that Brett would win.

8:03: If you think Russell is keeping his word to Brett about taking him to the final three, I've got a bridge to sell you. The only, only thing that makes me think he might hold his word is the extreme value of potentially losing Brett's vote for sure should they oust him.

8:07: Russell is openly asking Mick and Natalie what they think his chances of winning are. What a jerk/awesome guy. Hey, you two people that I'm going up against - how badly do you think I'll beat you? And yet, the magical part of it is that he actually doesn't come off like a complete ass while he's saying these things. It's really a wonder to witness.

8:08: One thing seems for certain: Natalie will be joining Russ. Mick vs. Brett? I'm not so sure. Mick's paranoia seems on-base to me.

8:27: Okay, we took a little break, so I'll be catching up via skipping through the commercial breaks over the next hour or so. Then again, you're probably seeing the show an hour or more before me, so the point may be moot anyway. Or you're not even reading it on Sunday night. Anyway, full disclosure and all. No emailing me the winner before 9:00pm MST.

8:30: Tribal Council time. Who's the geek they sent in Jaison's place? By the way, I think Mick's going home.

8:31: What the hell am I saying. There's no way Russ keeps Brett, considering the Galu-dominant jury. I see dead Bretts.

8:32: No, Jeff, there is no suspense. The Foas are just saying the right things to make it seem as though Brett has a chance in this vote. He does not.

8:33: ...and the producers give it away by showing us the first two votes, by Natalie and Mick, both being for Brett. A tie? I think not.

8:35: Surprise, surprise. Oh wait - Brett going home isn't a surprise at all.

8:38: Hey, Mick - your shorts must have drawstrings. Use them. Lucky for us in the audience, CBS is blurring out your pubes. But what about poor Russ and Natalie?

8:40: Please, please, please mix things up just a tad, will ya? The Walk of the Dead, the Final Three Breakfast, the ceremonial Burning of the Shelter...yawn. Rusty's neverending barrage of boasts and trash-talking is the only thing keeping this portion of the show interesting. Those comments were made even funnier by the fact that he, Mick and Natalie have such a small bearing on the outcome.

8:45: Let me sum up Mick's opening statement: "I'm really boring. I tried not to piss any of you off. Please vote for me."

8:45: Natalie's opening statement was of the "I'm really glad you sucked enough to put me into this place. Thank you." I always love the hubris it takes to make that kind of statement.

8:46: Russell, meanwhile, is giving us the play-by-play of all of the people he had a hand in voting off. The "I'm way better than you and knocked your ass out personally, so vote for me" road; it's really his only play, as false humility at this point would get him nowhere. As such, I like it. Just in case it needs to be said: I'm outright rooting for Russ to win. Duh.

8:48: Natalie: I'm unemployed. Please vote for me. (Oh, and please ignore the fact that I was in sales making no doubt a ton of money.) Interesting play by Jaison, taking a path that seemed to be aiming at Russ and turning it into "Look beyond money, because all three of these people are monied." A plus for the oil tycoon.

8:49: Shambo's coming out firing! You go, girlfriend (and other homegirl cliches). In other news, she declares hers to be a vote for Russ.

8:51: Brett just said "bro date." No words. Okay, some words - is this Love Connection all of a sudden? Weird.

8:52: Kelly, please introduce yourself to America. Thank you, now return to anonymity.

8:55: I really don't see how this can't end in a shutout for Russell. This is a bloodbath.

8:56: Monica, Dave, Laura....boring. The lack of fireworks in this final council is astounding, made even more pathetic by the fact that all of the final three are saying that they've performed terribly (even Russ). Woo confidence!

8:58: Please Erik, save us. You're our only hope. Give us some drama and/or humor.

8:59: Does Erik deliver fireworks? Um, no. He delivers waterworks, nearly coming to tears talking about people that he hasn't spoken to directly in weeks, being the first person on the jury. Weird.

9:01: Erik just got back to his seat and attempted to slice his wrists with a piece of nearby hay. Now I feel bad.

9:03: Alright, before we return to New York or L.A., it's time to place your bets on who you think will be the Most Shocking Makeover award recipient. this award typically goes to a female that either gains back her pre-show weight or is buried under an avalanche of makeup, but, as with all things this season, I think my vote will be going towards Rusty. I predict a clean-shaven face (of course), but perhaps also a much trimmer physique.

9:05: Not two minutes later, I can already see that I'm wrong. He has stubble, his goofy hat on and doesn't appear to have lost any additional weight, and might have even gained some back.

9:06: Instead, the winner is....Natalie! Dolled up like Miss America, gained a few pounds, fancy cocktail dress - she's almost unrecognizable. And, as usual, she looked better before.

9:07: 3 votes Nat, 2 votes Russell.

9:08: 4-2. I don't wanna be right.

9:08: It gets to 5 and Jeff calls it. Considering that they always milk as much drama as possible, this means that she won 7-2. Lame voting, jury members. Super lame. I don't expect Russell to take this defeat very well, and the looks on his face seem to confirm this. In other news, my prediction was right!!! I rule.

9:12: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, congrats, Natalie - now let's talk about the only player that anyone will remember from this season aside from Shambo's Mullett, Russell..." That's pretty much how I see this reunion show playing out.

9:14: Is that a silver pacifier around Rusty's neck?

9:15: Man on no humility Russ thinks he played the "best strategic game in history." Not sure if I agree with that, and Jeff illustrates that with a potential scenario for him to chew over. Look, Russ, I like you as much as anyone, but a win is a win is a win, and you didn't. Now take your lumps and your loss and accept it. This is supposed to be Natalie's moment - let it go.

9:19: On that note, I'm closing down the Survivor live blog for this season. It's been a hoot (and a decent season to boot), and I look forward to doing it again next season, just as I look forward to your responses. Thanks!

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8 people have chosen wisely: on "Survivor: Samoa Episode 15 (The Finale!) Recap/Live Blog"

Nick said...

Natalie was such a lame winner. I'm glad Russell got voted as America's favorite. He deserved it. I loved how he tried to buy the title off Natalie, though. Classic.

Next season seems brilliant. Heroes vs. Villains. I'm predicting Susan (from season 1), Russell, Erik (the nerd who gave up his immunity in the finals by trusting the girls), and Coach. Russell and Coach in one season... I'm not sure a television could handle it. I'd also say Rupert the Pirate and Ozzy the Human Fish/Monkey, but they've already been in two seasons. Same goes for Johnny Fairplay and James the Gravedigger.

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

Wow. I am astounded at how bitter the jury actually was. Show some pride people, put your ego's aside and vote for the best player.
Worst of all was Jaison, he loved all of Russell's coniving when he got to ride his coattails. Plus Jaison's whole workplace metaphor was total crap. In tyhe workplace employee's are paid to do whats best for the company, so negativity, betrayal and undermining area bad thing. In Survivor those attributes are the whole point, EVERYBODY is out for themselves and anybody who tells you different is selling something.

Damn IT! I almost wish Brett would have won the last Immunity now, he would have been a much better winner. I actually liked Natalie alot, but no way did she deserve to win.

Nick said...

Jacks: I agree, especially with Brett being a more interesting winner. I also agree with the workplace analogy being crap. Because, well... using the same analogy, Natalie would be the person in a team or group who does nothing yet gets all the credit... and I'm pretty sure people hate those types the most out of anybody.

Bob Turnbull said...

Though Russell was an amazing player, in the end he forgot one of the very basic rules of Survivor - you need to get the Jury to vote for you. And to do that, you unfortunately have to understand human nature and realize how petty many people are (I hope I wouldn't be, but who knows). I'm not saying that Natalie consciously knew that, but she did play to the jury as much as possible (note how she didn't point out to the jury that she was responsible for Eric's dismissal? A great strategic move at the time, but reminding them of that may have cost her his vote).

That's why I like Survivor though - it brings in this whole game theory kind of thought process. Russell plays one of the best games ever in setting things up for himself (three hidden immunity idols?), but while doing that prevents himself from winning. Definitely a conundrum. And he still hasn't figured that out.

I wish the jury would have voted for him too, but by the end of the show I was back to disliking Russell like I did in the first couple of episodes.

One thing I did get right though was that I knew Laura would make her question at the jury be all about her. Even her moment at the reunion was all about how great she was.

And was it just me or was this the first time that not only one, but three separate people didn't even get a chance to speak at the reunion (John, Kelly and Liz)?

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

I liked Russell even MORE after the reunion special. You could tell how much the game actually meant to him. The funnything is, the jury talked alot about his betrayals, but the only person on the jury he really betrayed that the other finalists did not was John.
What it really comes back to is that the other finalists were estactic whenever Russell did something devious, the jury was either just too blind, bitter or dumb to realize it.
I think most years Russell wopuld have won the vote, he was just unfortunate o play in a year when the jury was filled with petty crybabies rather than a group that respected the game for what it is.

Bob Turnbull said...

I hear what you're saying JSR, but the thing is that "petty crybabies" on the jury is part of the game. You have to be able to size up your possible jury members and figure out how not to piss them off, how to stroke their egos and get them to vote for you. Russell didn't do that. He did everything right to get to the final, but not what needed to be done to win the final (at least, not with this particular jury). Of course, that's a tall order since he probably would not have made the final had he not done what he did in the way that he did it. And therein lies the conundrum of Survivor...

I can't stand the "you betrayed me!" shouts from people who were more than happy to either do it themselves or that benefited from someone else doing it. Eric in particular was a very scheming player, but in the final he was all upset about Russell's methods. Can't have it both ways dude...

Fletch said...

Wow, some great insight all around here.

I really can't stand the people that even bother to invoke the word "integrity" when playing the game of Survivor. This isn't Kindergarten, and the word Outwit has always been right there in the logo. I'd like to think that if I got played, I'd be man enough to respect a good game played when there was one, though I'm sure that I'd more than likely base it on that most simple of all reasons: who did I like most? I guess that could be filed under the interpersonal relationship banner, though, and I suspect that's what ultimately cost Russell the title (and what Bob has been saying). Rusty turned people off, while Natalie was a sweet, cute, churchgoing girl that was more or less impossible to dislike. It really shouldn't come down to that, and you'd think that the jury being able to see Russ find multiple Idols sans clues would help his case, but let's face it - he was an ass. A big ass, to a lot of people.

Bob said: "And was it just me or was this the first time that not only one, but three separate people didn't even get a chance to speak at the reunion (John, Kelly and Liz)?"

Funny that you mentioned that, since I mentioned (aloud, not on the blog) how I thought Jeff did a good job of trying to engage as many people as possible, talking with Marisa, Mike Betsy, Yasmin et al. It seems like in most shows, the most recently voted off and the sole Survivor get all the press time. Weird how we had differing reactions to that.

24hourstomidnight said...

I kinda LIKE the Walk of the Dead...

Russell shoulda won.