Survivor: One World Recap - Finale Part II
Perception Is Not Always Reality Part II
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
May 15, 2012

I would just like to say

Previously on Survivor, Alicia was eliminated. This is the happiest we have been since...Tarzan had been eliminated the previous episode. Or Kat the episode before that. Or Troyzan before her. Our point is that there is a lot of dead weight this season. Thankfully, these scrubs are being removed from the competition prior to the final vote, which is refreshing.

Now we are awaiting the last elimination, which most likely will be Christina.

And let's be honest here. The only way Christina will not be the next player eliminated is if she wins immunity. How many times has Christina won individual immunity? Zero. For that matter, Christina hasn't won individual anything unless we count lasagna...and that didn't even air. Christina is gone.

Kim does apologize to Christina for "lying to you for a long time". This is like apologizing to Pepsi for liking Coke better. For her part, Christina handles the situation like a champ. She is clearly impressed by Kim's poker face. Kim is savvy enough to compliment Christina for her resilience. Later, Christina confides that it is time for her to start trying to win immunity and the game. Future Survivor players, take note: Day 36 isn't the optimal time for this.

The lack of conflict this season forces the producers to do some scrambling with the editing. The thankfully gone walk of remembrance for previous players returns. We wince with aggravation at this turn of events. When drying paint complains about boring things to watch, it brings up Survivor's walk of remembrance. So, we fast forward to the challenge.

Final Probst sighting!

The final competition of Survivor: One World is stressful to watch. We can only imagine how tense participating must have been. The contestants are given an extended pole (presumably to signify the emasculation of the men) they use to manipulate a series of wooden bowls through a narrow, tall obstacle course. Simply completing this aspect is nerve-racking enough but then the individual bowls must be stacked on top of one another. The first person who can stack ten bowls without them tipping over wins immunity and a spot at the final jury.

We mentioned the height of the obstacle, and this is important to the competition. A stepping stool with three stairs must be utilized to reach the lowest as well as the highest points on the metal obstacle. Also, because this challenge doesn't suck enough, wind is a factor. There is an occasionally gusting wind in play that leads to a few "uh-oh" moments for the players.

At the start of the challenge, we obviously expect Kim to win since she has won three out of the last four attempts at immunity. The surprise is that Christina has a knack for this. Her steady hands as well as the resilience Kim mentioned earlier while sucking up comes into play. When Kim and Christina complete their eighth bowls, they are a full bowl ahead of Chelsea while Probst notes that only a disaster (or three) would give Sabrina the opportunity to win.

While we temporarily regret questioning Christina's "Don't try until the last day" strategy, even the weather favors Kim. Christina is forced to stop until a gust stops her stack of bowls from tilting dangerously. This opportunity allows Kim to take command of the challenge. On her tenth bowl, Kim does almost blow it when her bowl strikes a metal ring and shakes the foundation of the structure. Fate is on her side, though. Kim's structure steadies and she places the final bowl. The best player this season wins her fourth immunity challenge out of the last five, guaranteeing that Christina will be going home.

Survivor: One World is in unprecedented territory here as not only will the final three participants be women but also the three strongest players this season.

When the women return to camp for the last time, Christina asks for the truth. Kim gives it to her straight, and this leads to a thought process from Christina that infuriates Probst when discussed later. Christina enters the acceptance phase, not bothering to put up a fight to reach the final vote. Kim confides to the camera that she is shocked by Christina's calmness over losing.

At Tribal Council, Probst is not the only person horrified by the reveal that Christina is not fighting back. This reinforces all of the opinions by the jury members that Christina is wishy washy and weak. Several of them shoot baleful looks at the woman in the position they all covet: still in the game. Christina is a very attractive, very intelligent woman who simply has not cared about winning Survivor enough this season.

Since there have been truly evil people in the competition, we have generally given Christina a pass on this, but Herm Edwards' Law applies. "You play to win the game! Hello?!" Fourteen players have been eliminated; eight of them are current onlookers feeling overwhelming frustration. And Christina doesn't care that she is about to be eliminated one vote before the finale. Yes, there is something to be said for losing with dignity and grace. When we evaluate this jury, however, we see a lot of potential for bitterness if spite comes into play. Christina could light that fire, yet she stubbornly refuses. We respect her for not losing herself in order to win a game and some money, but it robs us of any hope of great television tonight. Christina is the final person voted out of Survivor: One World.

A wonderful moment occurs the next morning. A teary Sabrina opens up about her recent life experiences and what led her to be participate on the show. She is a high school teacher in Brooklyn and we infer from her comments that where she teaches is inner city-ish in terms of educational system. Two weeks before the start of Survivor, she was laid off. One of Sabrina's primary goals on Survivor was to demonstrate to her kids what they are capable of doing. Mission accomplished. Sabrina fundamentally changed the outcome of this season of Survivor, whether she wins or not. We can also say with certainty that she will get at least some votes tonight. We are also confident that this will not be her final appearance on Survivor.

Chelsea's celebration largely involves her personal accomplishments. She clearly does not believe she is going to win and so she focuses upon what is important. Chelsea recognizes that she has played with honor and dignity (all of the finalists have, which is refreshing); she also believes that she has made some friends for life. Rarely on the show do we believe this (at least not the plural version). This women's alliance is different, though. They overcame overwhelming obstacles before turning the tables on the men. There were rarely moments of discord other than from Alicia. This is a tight knit group whose bond probably will exist beyond the show. Is that worth a million dollars? Chelsea says yes. We are inclined to agree.

The final camera conversation is with Kim, who is poised to become one of the greatest first season champions in the history of Survivor. Her performance this year is on a par with Yul Kwon, the previous player we believed had the strongest previous debut for a champion. Kim's comments are brief, but they amuse us nonetheless. She discusses the recent ending of her four-year marriage. Yes, some idiot ex-husband has been forced to watch this entire season of Survivor, regretting every life choice that led to his losing this amazing woman. Each episode is another dagger in his heart. Also, if they had stayed married a little longer, he could have taken half the million dollars in the divorce. What a sucker.

Now is the time when the players state the reasons why they should win Survivor: One World. Chelsea begins with an assertion that voting out Leif caused her to reconsider her tactics. She became a harder player from that moment forward, and she apologizes for this callous behavior. Apparently, Chelsea was much funnier in her camera monologues than she was around camp, which is unfortunate. Chelsea is naturally funny. We had presumed her to be Miss Congeniality in the eyes of the other players and, at a minimum, 1A to Kim in this regard. Instead, the body language of the jury reveals she is a cold fish to them, which hurts Chelsea's chances at victory tonight.

Kim's position is tenuous since many members of the jury, particularly Kat and Troyzan, have been bitter and petulant at times. She points out that while many difficult decisions were made, there was a purpose to them. Kim notes that while she likes all of the people in the jury (except Troyzan), she had to remind herself at several intervals that she had only known these people for 30 days. Her family back home could be positively aided by the victory money. This allowed her to vote without guilt. We note that the purpose of this statement is to undermine Chelsea at least somewhat by saying that she could make the hard choices better than her counterpart.

Sabrina, who has already been complimented by Kat in this episode for her public speaking talent, takes charge here. She notes that she does not have the ability to separate the game from real life, which is her way of saying that she is the punishment vote for people who do not like what Kim just stated. Clever. She also points out that she was recently laid off and that she arrived on the show without any expectations. Simply to reach this point in the game is a blessing to her. Sabrina is having a very good final episode.

What happens next is simple. The nine members of the jury will each ask a question, the three remaining players will answer, a vote will be performed and then Kim will be named winner of Survivor. We are not jumping on the bandwagon here, either. Since we introduced the power rankings for this season, we have slotted Kim in first place. She is clearly head and shoulders above the competition. The only way that she could lose tonight is that if the bitter members of the jury (potentially Michael, Troyzan, Tarzan, Alicia and Kat with Leif being a wild card) all convince one another to do the wrong thing.

We suspect that Troyzan is too small a man to vote for someone who has whipped him this completely, so we are expecting his vote to go to Chelsea or Sabrina (more likely the latter). Leif was betrayed by Chelsea and Kim, so he is probably going to vote for Sabrina. Everything else is theoretically up in the air, but we suspect that this group of people will acknowledge who the best player was this season.

Jonas begins his questioning by laying the ground rules. He asks that the people answer by saying, "Yes, Master Jonas." It's a silly joke, but this brief moment of levity sets the tone for the entire final jury. From this moment on, everyone decides to be nicer than expected, which is a refreshing change from previous seasons.

Jonas discusses how much Sabrina sucked during many of the challenges, which is true and she knows it. He does state that if the goal is to elect the most popular person, she would win, which is a fascinating insight into how the men perceive the women. He then mentions to Chelsea that she is "really cute" and "the hottest chick." For a moment, he seems to be on the verge of an I Love You, Beth Cooper moment, but then he gets down to business, asking her what her biggest move was that she can claim as her intellectual property.

A bombshell is dropped. Chelsea confidently states that it was her idea to eliminate Kat. While this may win her Jonas' vote, all it accomplishes is alienating at least Kat and possibly Christina, Alicia and Tarzan as well. The reason they lost is that their numbers dwindled and Chelsea has owned this turn of events as her doing. If they are impressed by it, Chelsea could win Survivor with the claim. Given what we know of these players, however, it is much more likely that she has just secured the Survivor crown for Kim. Jonas also asks why Kim didn't take Christina to the finale; she is honest that she didn't want to afford the jury the opportunity to vote for someone outside their core alliance.

Christina follows by mentioning her interpretation that she was eliminated because she was a big threat. No, Christina. Anyway, the question for Kim is which of the remaining players she would take out of the game and why. Kim honestly states that since she feels she has a better chance of beating Sabrina, she would eliminate Chelsea. Christina then displays bitterness when she asks Chelsea, "Why do you hate people?" Suffice to say Chelsea will not be receiving Christina's vote.

One of our favorite players, Jay, is up next. Poor Jay simply could not catch a break all season, which led to his doing something stupid that directly caused his elimination. We expect the question to involve this, but instead he congratulates his opponents and acknowledges they deserve to be there. He questions Sabrina's work ethic, which she claims was her strategy to remain below radar. This is the Sandra Maneuver. This is all Jay asks, indicating his vote was previously determined.

Michael, the only original alpha male to make the jury (we don't count Jay), is next. As you may (or may not) recall, Michael is self-absorbed. His question focuses upon his elimination, asking Kim to explain the rationale for the maneuver. She tells him something we do not think he knew, which is that Troyzan was only willing to send home one man instead of a woman, that person being Michael. Yes, the grudge that Troyzan had with the original alpha males proved to be one of the seminal schisms in the game. Had Troyzan stayed true to bros over hos, very different people would be in the finale. Michael is mollified by this. We suspect Kim either won or reinforced his vote with this response. He does get preachy and act otherwise, though. Michael, if you're reading this, please (for the love of God) grow up.

All Tarzan intends to do is thank the women responsible for the concatenations (his word, not ours) that led to his wife setting foot on the island. His sincerity rings true here. Clearly, one of the motivating factors that drove Tarzan this season was this visit from his wife. The fact that he managed to last that far in the game makes the whole season Mission Accomplished for him. To our shock, Chelsea stops him from leaving. The woman he aggravated throughout the season offers the kind word here, thanking him for the inspiration that Tarzan and his wife provided her. Chelsea sees them as a real life Harlequin Romance, and is grateful for the way that their love showed her what she wanted in a relationship. Tarzan and Chelsea are both reduced to tears during this discussion, a welcome change from what ordinarily occurs at the final Tribal Council.

Leif also questions his elimination. Kim explains that he was untrustworthy in his voting patterns. She misspeaks when she mentions that due to this, she "didn't feel that bad about telling you to vote Christina that night". Any hope Kim possessed for garnering Leif's vote vanishes. Sabrina probably wins his vote by noting that Kim was the one who made the decision. She claimed that she liked him so much that she couldn't look him in the eye and tell him, admitting that she "punked out" in this manner. Sabrina is good people.

Alicia is next. If anyone would be a heinous bitch at this moment, she is one of the three most likely options along with Troyzan and Kat. Not coincidentally, this trio has been saved for last. Alicia states that she and Kim play the game the same way. She too was a kingpin with her pawns, Christina and Tarzan. The priceless look on Christina and Tarzan's faces speaks volumes about the accuracy of this statement. Alicia continues to campaign, perhaps not understanding that she is no longer eligible to win Survivor. She understands there isn't a redemption island this season, right? Anyway, she makes the (wildly inaccurate) claim that she would be a much bigger threat than either Sabrina or Chelsea, which reinforces Kim's earlier claim that Alicia is delusional. We stop paying attention by this point. Alicia appears to be voting for Kim, though.

Troyzan begins with "congratulations!", which is surprising. He immediately focuses on Kim, the person with whom he has a "real beef." Like Michael, he is self-absorbed but unlike Michael, Troyzan doesn't have the excuse of youth. He too focuses upon the events that led to his demise, querying Kim about when she planned his elimination. She confidently states, "Taking Jonas out of this game." This should be common sense but even to this moment, Troyzan STILL has not deduced that this battle was always men against women.

Either way, Troyzan and Jay formed an alliance with Kim on day 13. She broke it and they are both on the jury. Jay may overlook this since he always thought the women were tight. Troyzan will not be so forgiving. He makes a kind remark to Sabrina, which indicates she will be receiving his vote. At this point, we are struggling to find a vote for Chelsea, which is not representative of the way she played this season. If Kim had been eliminated early on, Chelsea would have done just as well. She is being incorrectly judged as an understudy rather than a lead.

Kat is last to go, and her comments are the most surprising. She reveals what those of us who keep up with the casting already knew. Kat had two different open heart surgeries by the age of 12 and is facing another one within the next year or so. Because of this outlook on life, she refuses to be the snide, bitter jury member who talks about rats and snakes and "Don't be stupid, stupid". Instead, she reveals her infirmity and encourages positivity, making this the most upbeat final jury in the show's decade long history.

When the jury members vote, the result is a foregone conclusion. There wasn't the angry tone needed for an upset to occur. Instead, Kim is confirmed as one of the greatest players of all time when she claims the 7-2 vote. Only Leif and total jackass Troyzan prevent this from being a perfect vote. In our estimation, Kim has completed (at worst) the second best season ever for a new player and we will be debating her season vs. Yul's for quite some time.

To a larger point, Survivor: One World started in hideous fashion as the women were utterly inept at the start. Then, there were several of the lowest moments in the show's history as Colton demonstrated every form of hatred known to man. After karma struck him down (Hey Karma! Next time, aim for the heart or the brain), the season involved into one of the least exciting ever due to the loyalty and overall integrity demonstrated by the women. Chelsea, Sabrina and Kim are all among the most noble participants in the history of the show, comporting themselves in heroic fashion in the face of extreme adversity. While none of this was sexy and long time viewers of Survivor have been complaining about the vanilla nature of it, we were pleased to see that sometimes nice people finish first. And second and third.

PS: For all the berating we did of Alicia during the season, she did what Colton failed to do during the post-show live interviews. She demonstrated sincere regret for her actions, particularly with regards to Christina. With this, she redeemed herself by learning from her experiences. For a season featuring Colton, there was a lot of personal growth demonstrated from start to finish.