We join Jeff onstage and see all the Survivors backstage at CBS before he takes us back to Kaoh Rong with a quick recap of the season. One evacuation after another, idol battles, blindsides, wasted advantages . . . it's been a tough season. We're down to Michelle, Aubry, Cydney and of course Tai, with a little video recap on each. And let's not forget Mark (the chicken) who's managed to survive all the way to the end without ending up as anyone's dinner.
The dawn of Day 36 and Mark may be running out of time as he tries to wake his tribe. Maybe the grand prize winner should be Mark. Tai takes Mark down to the beach while the others sleep. Then Aubry wakes and has a morning chat with Tai to set up a final three which includes Cydney, but it's certainly not in Michelle's best interest.
Time for a Reward Challenge and today's challenge may be just what Michelle needs. They need to race under a net to the far end, then slide tiles (like on a shuffleboard) into the correct pile, and then use a machete to move the tiles over a teeter totter and along a balance beam where they'll match up the pairs to get three numbers that will raise their flag. The reward is a meal to refuel their spirit and their stomach delivered to camp.
Cydney raced through the net and sliding those tiles and has all her tiles and starts stacking four tiles on the machete, but she drops, twice. That allowed Aubry to take the lead as Cydney drops again. Tai starts moving tiles but drops. Now Michelle is in it with her tiles but she may be too late because Aubry is already starting to match her tiles. Cydney falls again as Aubry races through this and tries her combination but she may have the wrong tiles. Cydney now has her tiles and starts pairing them up while Tai returns with his last set. Aubry realizes where she messed up and tries to get it first but Tai and Cydney are both there, and unfortunately for them both wrong . . . Aubry gets it right and raises her flag.
Aubry has won a meal and the chance to bring one person with her so Aubry invites Cydney . . . completely unaware of the secret alliance that Michelle and Tai have been working on. Mmm, mashed potatoes, meat, drinks, all on a nice little side table away from the other two. Cydney and Aubry have shared every reward so far so it's not a surprise to find them sharing this one.
Meanwhile Michelle and Tai know that they're on the bottom and one of them is likely to be going home at tribal. That puts Michelle in a position to think outside the box and come up with a backup plan that counts on flipper, I mean Tai.
Day 37 and we're on to the Immunity Challenge. Jeff takes back the necklace and tells them they'll need to race out into the ocean and climb a tower to get a key to unlock stairs to find a second key to unlock a rope ladder to get a pole to knock off a bag of puzzle pieces to solve a three level puzzle and win the Immunity Necklace.
Cydney takes the lead into the water but Aubry has her first key and heads back with Tai behind her. They both unlock their ladder and race up to find the next key with Cydney and Michelle right behind. Back into the water to get the next key and then get the ladder to get her next key and then back out to the bag of puzzle pieces. Aubry is way ahead of everyone else and has her pieces before anyone else even gets back to the water. Cydney gets her pieces, then Tai, then Michelle. Everyone but Aubry looks wiped.
The puzzle looks like the equalizer as the others start to catch up to Aubry. Tai takes the lead as he gets the first level, and then Michelle gets her first level. Tai has now finished his second level and on to his third. Cydney is almost completely out of this and Aubry looks pretty stumped. So much for her enormous lead. It looks like it's going to be either Tai or . . . too late, Michelle has it and guarantees herself a spot in the final three. Well done Michelle.
Michelle really needed that win and she pulled it off at the last minute. If the angels are thinking it may be time to cut Tai loose and enjoy some chicken dinner for three, but somehow I doubt they'll actually think about an all girl finale. If they do, it may be a Survivor first because I can't recall another finale with only women at the end.
Michelle now finds herself in the power position but it also means that if she takes the wrong person to the end it could cost her the million dollars. Aubry and Tai go to get water and discuss their options, but secretly Aubry knows that Tai flips on a dime and it may be time to make other plans. While they gather water, Cydney and Michelle get a chance to make their own plans as they gather mangoes. It looks like there's going to be another blindside at Tribal, but on who?
Cydney asks Michelle if she should be working on her fire making skills but Michelle tells her that she thinks she's safe. Then Michelle tells Tai that she's voting out Aubry . . . and despite his previous agreement he thinks Aubry should go. Yep, he's flipped again. Good thing she's already suspicious as they head to Tribal.
At Tribal Jeff brings in the jury and we see that Joe is looking a lot better. Jeff asks Michelle how she managed to get the puzzle and she admits she just saw it. Then Jeff talks to Aubry about the fact that voting someone out moves them to the jury with information that could end your chance of winning the game. Aubry admits that strengths and weaknesses may be viewed differently by everyone. Jeff asks Michelle if she feels the power of wearing the Immunity Necklace and she admits to feeling nervous because she needs to use that power wisely. Time to vote.
Jeff gathers the votes and because there's no more immunity idols he reads the votes. Aubry, Cydney, Aubry, and Cydney. It's a tie. He asks if Tai and Michelle want to revote or are they locked in and they both admit they're locked in so I guess Cydney should have worked on those fire starting skills after all.
Aubry and Cydney are set up with their fire making kit and the first one to burn through the rope and raise their flag stays in the game. Cydney gets a tiny flame but it goes out, then Aubry gets a flame. Aubry starts adding sticks to build her flame while Cydney keeps failing to get her flame to start. While Cydney tries to start her flame, Scot shakes his head. Aubry's flame is at the rope but it's burning away from it and . . . now it's not.
When Aubry tried to fix it she crushed her flame and now her flame is gone. Damn. Cydney is still trying to get hers to start, but there's nothing. Aubry gets her fire going again . . . and there it is. Aubry survives another day and Cydney joins the jury after 37 days. It's pretty emotional for her because she feels she's letting down her mom. It looked pretty emotional for the other three as well, but the jury was almost laughing about it. That's one really bitter jury.
As we cut away, we're back in the studio when Jeff introduces Cydney's mom, who doesn't look much older than her daughter. There's lots of tears from mom who has watched her baby girl go through a lot this season but she's damn proud, and rightly so. Cydney played a good game.
Right after Tribal nobody was feeling good because they had all become fairly close but Aubry is feeling better now knowing she's still in the game. Tai and Michelle never saw that coming even if it did go to the fire starting challenge because they had been so focused on taking Cydney to the end. Tai still thinks there may be another challenge coming up because Jeff never announced that the power now shifts to the jury.
The final challenge is announced on the morning of Day 38. I guess Tai was right and now it's a seriously individual game. They all need that necklace, but only one of them will win it. When they get to the challenge Jeff takes back the necklace and then tells them they're not playing for immunity . . . they really are the final three . . . but . . . the winner of this challenge earns the right to vote out a jury member.
All three of them need to balance on a beam on a spring and use a long pole to balance balls and stands on a post. Tai seems to take the lead but then it's Michelle, then back to Tai, then Aubry' then . . .one after the other until Michelle knocks her tower. Then Aubry drops, and then Tai drops and they all start over. Michelle moves quickly into the lead with Aubry on her tail.
Michelle places her fifth stand as Aubry places her fourth ball. Then Michelle is on to her sixth stand as Tai falls way behind, and both girls race back with their last ball. Aubry's balls fall but Michelle's stay solid and she wins the reward. The kicker is, she gets to read her reward at tribal to the jury so she can see the reaction. Her choice could seriously make or break any of their games.
With the challenge out of the way the three of them can now relax, . . . well, except for Michelle who once again has a decision to make. Michelle goes to Tai who thinks she should remove Joe who was Aubry's closest ally. Of course Tai knows that Joe would never vote for him so it's kind of self-serving advice. Then Michelle goes to Aubry and mentions that the names she's thinking about happen to be Aubry's two votes. Aubry points out all the friends that Tai has made on the jury and then Aubry throws Scot under the Survivor bus.
With all three of them together in the shelter, Michelle is thinking Scot and Tai is getting a bit concerned. He goes back to pushing for Joe and Michelle knows that whatever decision she makes it's the last one the jury will remember. They head off to Tribal and Jeff brings in the jury, who discover it's a final three and then Jeff tells Michelle to read her advantage which really surprised the jury as this advantage is a Survivor first and nobody saw it coming.
Jeff starts chatting with Michelle to see how she's planning her decision and she admits that she's discussed it with the others. Aubry points out that the advantage can be used in different ways, and Tai says you can make a big statement with this decision. Jeff asks Michelle if she feels confident in her decision and she has decided that the person she's removing wouldn't have voted for her so Jeff tells her it's time to vote. Michelle casts her one vote and Jeff retrieves it and Michelle has removed . . . Neil, who will be sequestered until after the votes but not before making a rather angry speech personally to Michelle as he went past. They've got one night left, which is more than Neil has.
Back to the "live" stage where Jeff reveals there will be a guest at the final Tribal Council, but is it a twist or . . . I guess we'll find out soon enough.
The final three join Mark back at camp under the blue light special and Michelle feels pretty good about her decision. Aubry is devastated but she's not going out without a fight. The sun rises on Day 39 and the final three are told to follow a trail which will lead them to a mirror and a scale to see how the game has affected them. They're all surprised by the changes before moving on to a refreshing selection of food and drink for their final meal.
There's some personal footage of each of them with a little preview of how they hope to sway the jury and they all sound good but Aubry sounds the most worried. As they settle in at their final Tribal, Jeff brings in the jury. Scot still looks pissed to be on the jury as he scowls at all three of them, but then again, Scot's a sore loser. Jeff gives them a moment to gather their thoughts and then . . .
Nick gets started with how the jury feels and tells Michelle to display intelligence, Tai to display awareness and Aubry to display confidence. Debbie says they should be proud of themselves but then she asks Tai if he has more than one personality in his skull or what. Tai doesn't feel like he has multiple personalities or that he flipped that much. Then Debbie says it was great to watch Aubry grow and feels she helped her get where she is now and wonders if Aubry would have done the same to which Aubry agrees, at least to a point. Debbie is proud of Aubry so at least we know where her vote is going.
Julia attacks Michelle for being weak and under the radar but she was proud of her move to blindside her ally and Michelle said it was unfortunate she had to vote her out. Julia asks Tai if he feels he deserves her vote to win and he pretty much says it depends on what she values. Then Joe asks Tai what makes him think he's played better than Aubry and Tai says his big move was getting out Scot (deep angry scowl) and then Joe asks Aubry and she says that without her Tai would have been out long ago.
Jason tells them he doesn't know who to vote for and asks about the vote to get rid of Scot and he asks Michelle how she got into that alliance to do so and she says she made moves to be there. Then Jason asks Tai why he left the alliance with Scot and Tai admits to getting scared and not liking the way Jason and Scot were talking. Time for Cydney to ask Aubry about the last tribal if the plan was to get rid of her from the start, which it wasn't. Then Cydney asks Michelle and Aubry interrupts to see if Michelle knew how Aubry was voting which she didn't, but that kinda cut off Cydney's question which may have ticked her off more than had Aubry remained silent.
Scot finally gets up and tells Tai that he had an idol and didn't use it, then wasted his advantage, then he tells Aubry he respected her at the start but why should he vote for her and Aubry says they played a different game but she played it better. Then Scot tells Michelle that she out-toughed both Tai and Aubry, so that's likely going to be his vote. With that Jeff usually wraps up the procedure but he gives the final three a chance to wrap up their own game.
Aubry gave a great speech about how well she played and how much she loves the game. Tai says he believes in kindness and then Tai gets all emotional and as usual starts rambling on in a personal direction and went off topic. Michelle says that she's a bit concerned that people felt she hadn't played an intelligent game but she stayed happy throughout and she's proud of how she played. Based on those speeches I'd be giving my vote to Aubry, or maybe Michelle, but I'm not on the jury.
Jeff tells the jury that they're voting for the winner and he sends Scot off to get things started. I still think they should be voting for Mark. Everyone votes and then Jeff goes to grab the votes but before wrapping up he asks Tai if he has a plan on how to get Mark home, which Tai doesn't, so they have to let Mark go and they all bid him farewell as Jeff walks out of one jungle and into another at the CBS Studio in Los Angeles. I think Mark was the surprise guest at Tribal, unless we're talking the wrap up Tribal on stage, which is always filled with guests.
The three finalists cleaned up pretty well to sit around a fake tribal fire on stage as Jeff reads the votes. Michelle, Aubry, Aubry, Michelle, Michelle, and the winner of Survivor is . . . Michelle. She hugs Aubry and Tai and then races off stage to hug her family and friends. Yay Michelle, I think that was well earned.
I'm not going to bother reviewing the Reunion show because it gets a bit hard to follow but the one thing that Michelle revealed is that she played a strong social game and she really didn't make any enemies. At one point, a big fan of the show, Sia (whoever that is) was so moved by Tai and how he lived his life and treated Mark that she came onstage to donate $50,000 to Tai and another $50,000 to Tai's favourite animal charity. That's a pretty big gesture for a fan, and a big win for Mark.
Next season it's those pesky Millenials versus Gen-X and it should be a good one but we'll have to wait until the fall for that season. That's a wrap on my reviews for a few weeks but I'll be right back here June 28th when Wayne and I start reviewing the fourth season of The Amazing Race Canada. We can hardly wait.