Survivor: One World Recap - Finale Part I
Perception Is Not Always Reality
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
May 14, 2012

The face of evil (though not as evil as Colton).

Previously on Survivor, Tarzan was (finally) eliminated from competition. With his exodus, the women had completed their systematic extermination of the men. What we have left is a first in the extended history of the series. The remaining five players are all female, making the finale an eventual judgment of which woman is worthiest of being champion. And we all know the correct answer is Kim. Here are the final power rankings for the 24th season.

1) Kim - This is probably the most dominant first season any contestant has had since at least J.T., if not Yul Kwon. Kim's training as a bridal boutique operator has accidentally shaped her into the perfect Survivor contestant for this season. Her ability to manipulate women while still getting them to like her is exemplary. Alicia was tricked into voting off one of her two allies last week, and the special education teacher did so in a capacity wherein she believed this was her choice. Kim has the ability to frame people in a way that causes the "criminal" to believe they actually committed the crime.

2) Chelsea - What helps Chelsea is that Kim herself has indicated to the other players that the two of them communicate on each decision. And the fact that the women touch each other a lot should be reason enough to indicate to others that they are tight knit. What hurts Chelsea is that she has not done enough to distinguish herself from Kim, leaving her to hope for a bitter jury that will choose an Anyone But Kim voting strategy.

3) Sabrina - Sabrina's position in this game exists on two levels. The first is from the early days of the game when the women were a disaster. Elected leader by her peers, Sabrina encouraged the other women to keep fighting in a game where anything can happen. She also gave Colton a hidden immunity idol, arguably the most important moment from the entire season. The five remaining players are there because of Sabrina. Voters with long memories will recognize this. Those with "What have you done for me lately?" attitudes are aware of the fact that Sabrina has the least power in her three player alliance. It is difficult to win in that scenario.

4) Alicia/Christina - We want to focus on the positives this season. With Tarzan's removal, there will not be a Philip/Coach in the finale, someone who is terrible at the game and does not belong at the final vote. We say that in assumption of the fact that Alicia and Christina are the two players voted out tonight. Yes, this is Survivor and nothing would shock us. Kim has not made any mistakes of note thus far, and we do not expect her to start tonight. As such, the two players who have no business winning the championship are likely to be eliminated. If either one does sneak into the final jury via the last immunity challenge or some unexpected skullduggery, they will not win. As such, this is poised to be one of the most satisfying conclusions in the history of Survivor. The best three players throughout the season will argue their case for season champion. And Kim will win. We hope.

As has become the norm, the first several moments of the final episode are devoted to recapping the season to date. The gist of this is: the men are dominant. The men cannot lose. Colton is pathetic. Colton is weak. Colton is given an immunity idol. Colton functions as a sleeper agent for the women. The men lose. Colton becomes a racist, dwarf-hating xenophobe. Colton is struck down for his sins. The women vote off the men while the men vaguely wonder if the women are voting off the men. Chelsea doesn't want to do Tarzan's laundry. Kat dry humps her visiting cousin. Troyzan is a sore loser. Tarzan cross dresses; not coincidentally, Tarzan is then eliminated.

Yes, One World has been a quirky season.

Night 36 at Tikiano is a celebration. Only a month ago, these same five women had little shelter and a bunch of alpha males taunting them about their inferiority. Oddly, those taunts were valid and deserved. All of the women this season suffered significant culture shock at the start. When Kourtney broke her wrist during the first immunity challenge, the incident seemed like foreshadowing for a run of incompetence for the ladies. Alicia and Christina spent the body of the first Tribal Council berating one another. Independent of anything else we say about the women, we are quite impressed that each of them has held true to the alliance they formed on day one. Alicia has been convinced on multiple occasions that Christina went back on her word, but this has not been the case. Their constant allegiance in spite of personal dislike is one of those subtle ways the women outplayed the early expectations we had for them.

While Chelsea celebrates the elimination of Tarzan, her frequent provocateur, Kim reflects on exactly the tidbits we mention above. The season has progressed over three months for the viewer, but this has been only five whirlwind weeks of Kim's life. The reversal of fortune her alliance experienced is rare in this game. She is right to appreciate it.

Humorously, Alicia takes this opportunity to lament the way she just eliminated one of her perceived allies, Tarzan. Even more amusing is that she states she is comfortable that Kim, the same woman who just hoodwinked her into eliminating Tarzan, will stay loyal with her to the end. Survivor really needs to add live shots of players watching as the episode airs. Alicia's blank stare at last week's puppet mastery would have made our week. Alicia goes on to compliment her gameplay, a statement that defines her as one of the most optimistic contestants in the show's history.

Kim and Sabrina debate strategy, offering a couple of fascinating tidbits. We are already playing It's Anybody but Alicia, and the editing acknowledges this. She is the first one mentioned due to her potential to garner a couple of votes. We call those the Crazy votes. Even Evil Loser Russell and Coach picked up some of those over the years (hi Shambo!). Then, there is some discussion about how Chelsea will be perceived as the top of the heap over Kim and Sabrina. We disagree with this assessment, and Sabrina's body language indicates she does as well. The purpose of this is to make us believe that Kim may choose to vote off Chelsea. We are of the opinion that Kim might vote off her parents before she votes off Chelsea, so we're not buying it.

The challenge is a series of untied ropes, balance beams, puzzle piece retrieval and then a solution to said puzzle. We will pretend as if we are not all thinking that Kim is a mortal lock to win this. Kim does fall off at one point. This allows Chelsea and Alicia to reach the second stage before her. Alicia, master strategist to the end, forgets that the bags with her colors have her puzzle pieces. She wastes time for herself and aids her opponents by untying several of their bags as well. We very much look forward to her elimination from Survivor. First, she has to lose this challenge.

While Chelsea is technically the first to reach the puzzle portion of the challenge, all five participants are within moments of one another. The final result will be determined by when Kim is ready to beat the rest of them. Err, it will be determined by who can solve the puzzle the fastest. Once a participant has a solution, they must enter a combination for a box and open it. Right on cue, Kim is first to ascend the rope to the waiting lock. And she misses! Kim is human!!! Of course, this is a temporary setback rather than a legitimate instance of failure. Alicia and Chelsea manage to make failed attempts as well, but Kim wins as expected. Alicia's missed opportunity here all but guarantees her elimination from the competition.

Kim quickly moves past the celebration stage. After stating her plans, Kim huddles with Chelsea about the potential options. Alicia is the obvious choice, while Kim also notes that she regrets telling Chelsea about the hidden immunity idol back in the day. Chelsea's awareness of this reduces Kim's options. Meanwhile, Alicia and Chelsea are still in denial about their status within the tribe. Alicia believes that she is totally safe while Christina is confident that eliminating Chelsea is the only move that makes sense. Stuff like this is why they are not going to win Survivor.

Tribal Council consists of many statements of the obvious while Kat shoots dirty looks at anyone who will listen. We wish we could put Kat's body language on mute. She's like a small child who didn't get her requested/demanded ice cream. The discussion is so nondescript that Probst eventually asks the players who lack immunity to beg for their safety. Alicia states nothing of note, Sabrina doesn't feel the need and Christina mentions loyalty. Chelsea is the only one whose point is valid. She maintains that tonight's vote could change the perception of the jury with regards to Kim, which is true.

When Probst tallies the votes, there is a moment of possibility for Alicia. Two of the first three votes read are for Chelsea. Alicia cannot hide the grin escaping from her mouth as she grows confident in her security. Still, we know Alicia is screwed when Kat leans over to Troyzan and says, "It's gonna be Chelsea." Sure enough, the other votes go to Alicia, who is penultimate player voted out of Survivor. Alicia leaves, believing (yet again) that Christina has betrayed her; yet, any amount of common sense would reveal that Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina remained loyal to each other again.

Kat, still trying to convince herself that she understands Survivor, mutters: "She backstabbed me and Alicia." Kat, this would be true if she had sworn she would be with you until the very end. What she did instead was give you every indication that she was with Sabrina and Chelsea. We knew this and we weren't there. What's your excuse?

Ergo, now it's time to play It's Anyone but Christina. Tune in tomorrow for the final outcome!