Welcome to the finale. I wish I had started writing these previews at the beginning of the season because they have become something that I have quickly begun to really enjoy – but will have to wait to resume until Survivor can once again start filming after the pandemic is over.
Anyways, we made it – the last episode of what has been a truly incredible season. Last weeks’ 2 hour event was the build up we needed to take us right into what is sure to be a wild experience tonight. Jeremy’s time had come and Nick made what was one of the most obvious short-sighted moves of the season. That leaves just 5 contestants remaining – Tony, Ben, Sarah, Michelle, and Denise. But, as shown at the end of last week there will be a 6th person joining them as someone will be freed from extinction.
So let’s get into it, starting with the resurrection.
Edge of Exinction
Last week ended rolling right into the final chance for the 14 members who were voted off to try and fight their way back into the final stretch of the game and have one more chance at the $2 million prize.
I thought this challenge was going to happen last week, but obviously I was wrong and it will be a thrilling, suspenseful tip-off to the 2 hour finale event.
My thoughts haven’t really changed much in regards to who will be featured in this challenge and I think after the confessionals leading up to the end of the last episode it is clear that Natalie is the favorite going in to this challenge. I said last week how this would be a great climax to Natalie’s character arch on the season with being on the edge since the first day. She ended up raking in 14 fire tokens and is dripping in advantages, idols (she also purchased one for Tyson), and peanut butter. She is an absolute badass. In the preview for this week, there is a quick cut of what the challenge looks like and looking closely I think I saw Natalie in the lead pulling some type of rope towards the water. I doubt the challenge becomes a blowout but even if it is no one can argue that she doesn’t deserve it.
I also am still bullish on Wendell in the challenge because he is a very smart player who has had success in physical, mental, and puzzle portions of challenges.
And of course it is obligatory to say that Boston Rob will be in the hunt. The dude is a fighter and it shouldn’t shock anyone to see him back in the game. With an idol in his pocket maybe he can make an all time run at the final 3. Probably not but don’t count out Boston Rob.
My official pick is Natalie to come back in the game and immediately wreak havoc with her immunity idol.
Looking at the 5 players remaining there are 2 people who have the easiest track to the final tribal. That is Tony and Ben because they both have immunity idols so theoretically they only need to win 1 challenge to have a guaranteed spot in the final.
Tony is still the king and it is really crazy that he is yet to receive a single vote at a tribal council. The guy who has been the architect around so many blindsides this season hasn’t taken a single punch. It really shows how dominant he has been and how players know they can’t even think to make a move on someone without conversing with Tony first. Boss shit. But at this point in the game everyone has to be on constant watch. He’s been the best at that with his ability to collect intel but with so few people left its vital that he doesn’t get complacent.
Ben on the other hand, has begun to stake his power position in this game. He is solid with Tony and Denise and was finally able to wipe Jeremy from the island (with the help of Nick’s idiocy). This puts Ben in a great position because he is in key swing vote territory. He probably doesn’t have the strongest resume remaining, but if he can navigate into a situation where he is the one who takes out Tony or Denise’s game that could have heavy weight on the jury.
Michelle proved last week that I was right about how masterful of a game she is playing. After getting absolutely screwed by Nick’s ineptitude, she had her back as far up against the wall as it could go. But by winning the immunity challenge she lived to see another day and will for sure be ready to risk everything to partner with whoever comes out of extinction. I think she actually can get to the final vote and just the sheer grittiness of her performance could gain votes from the jury.
Michelle also set up a bear trap on Sarah that she should seriously consider. Michelle has got to be having Sarah playing mental gymnastics with the spew she gave her while she was doing her arts & crafts.
That’s because Sarah has got to realize that if she’s sitting at the final tribal with Tony she is receiving zero votes. Yes, they seem to be friends outside the game and Cops-R-Us is a great alliance but Michelle telling Sarah straight up that she has no chance vs. Tony in a head to head vote is exactly the type of broad landscape that a player like Michelle needs to win this type of game. If Michelle can convince Sarah to join her “dark” side then she will find herself sitting quite strongly at the last tribal.
I don’t really think that Sarah has anything on her resume to compete with the other players remaining, but taking out Tony would potentially be the ruthless and signature game move she needs to at least make a claim the victory. All is fair in love and war. Maybe Sarah has to neg on her deal with Tony that she won’t get back at him for his prior blindside. If Sarah doesn’t make a move then she will fall victim to just being a soldier in Tony’s army – and that doesn’t come with much glory (or $2million).
I thought for sure Denise’s time would come up last week. I thought she was scared to make any moves since taking out Sandra, but she seems to actually be the only snake in the grass waiting to take out Tony. Now this plan will be much harder to pull off because Tony overheard her in his Spy Nest, but at least she is plotting something to go at the frontrunner. Denise quietly has a top tier resume and is looking to add to it.
Her move to basically concede her fire tokens for rice was definitely kind of weird but she is still here to see another day and now I’m not even so sure she’s on the clear minority of the vote. If Tony and Sarah don’t deviate from their plan, Denise should be receiving votes from at least those 2 tonight. But she is very close to Ben which alludes back to the power position that I see him in leading up to the final votes. If Denise decides that she wants to go to the final with Ben, then they could have the ammunition to find a flank and strike Tony or Sarah.
This finale is going to be insanity. I am still trying to figure out how they are going to fit all that needs to happen in just 2 hours. Between the edge challenge, 2 immunity challenges, and a fire challenge this seems like a lot. And that doesn’t include the tribal councils to coincide with that. It is sure to be crazy and I won’t forget to wear my seatbelt.
The Tribe Has Spoken
This episode will for sure be action packed. I’m not completely sure how much time there will be for legitimate strategy at camp to be shown on screen. Perhaps this will enhance the viewer experience because each moment where they do talk strategy will be so critical. It’s so hard to make predictions based on the crapshoot of what can happen in challenges but at this point there’s no reason to believe Tony won’t be there right at the end claiming the prize. He has been dominant in all types of challenges and has an idol in his pocket. Of course the question for 2 of these survivors left is: Can they make fire?
I’m gonna make the assumption they all know how to at least get a spark with the flint so it will boil down to who can do it under the most pressure. My stomach will be in knots.
My ideal final 3 would be Tony Michelle and Natalie. There is a very slim to none chance of this trio actually happening because they all reside in different alliances at the moment but I think they are the most deserving 3.
The 3 that I think will be there at the end will be Tony, Sarah, and Ben.
If someone from extinction can make it to the final then they will have serious consideration from the jury. They all know how hard it is to survive the entire game, but they also know how much the edge absolutely sucked and that could warrant some votes.
When the players make their case to the jury, it will be interesting to see how much credit each person tries to take for each blindside and really what their ultimate case for winning is. Each person left has played a strong game but of course it is up to the jury to really determine who touts the final crown.
Again, I’m not sure how in the world the show makers are going to fit all the action and drama we need for the finale in just 2 hours but I’ll be locked in the entire time leading up to the virtual reunion show.
I’ll still ride with my guy Tony to win it all but I am overall rooting for chaos.
I can’t wait to see this war conclude – and thank you to the contestants and producers who made this show great to help us get through the quarantine. And of course props to Jeff Probst who is on the Mount. Rushmore of reality television hosts.
Cheers and enjoy the finale.
@jacklesser_ & @thoughtless44