Amazon Finale: ...And Then There Were Four
By Dan Krovich
Once again we are treated to an example of how the endgame of Survivor can
often be the least interesting part of the game. Butch, Jenna, Matt, and
Rob all sit around and talk about how great it is to be in the final four,
and the next moves of the game are spelled out for everyone. There is very
little strategizing going on, and the game is on auto-pilot with the only
possible glitch coming with the immunity challenges. They spend their last
days breaking down the shelter, and we are treated once again to the spastic
conniptions that Butch considers dancing.
We head to the immunity challenge with Jenna knowing that she has to win or
be the next person voted out. The challenge is a maze that they must
navigate blindfolded and gather necklaces that represent the elements earth,
wind, fire, and water. The guys are too busy using the "I was blindfolded"
excuse to grope Jenna, and Jenna is the shining star of the challenge and
wins immunity, throwing a wrench into the guys' plan to vote her out next.
This means that Butch, Matt, and Rob have to make their decisions about
which of them goes one round before they expected to. There is nervousness
all around. For the first time, Rob feels like he has no control over the
next step, particularly since if anyone has power, it's Jenna, and he just
screwed her and Heidi over recently. There isn't much doubt that Matt and
Rob are going to stick together, so it's up to Butch to try to get Jenna on
his side. Ironically, in the Matt-Rob relationship, it's now Matt who is in
control. By linking himself to Rob, Matt has been able to coast along while
Rob engineered all of the backstabbing. So now Rob has burned bridges, and
there's nowhere for him to turn for help except Matt.
Matt uses the opportunity to help himself while helping Rob and proposes a
two-fer to Jenna. Not only will she vote the way he wants tonight, but they
agree to take each other to the final two. So perhaps Matt has been crazy
like a fox all along as he now has agreements with everyone to get to the
final two. Going the extra mile and making the final two offer to Jenna
apparently worked, and Jenna joined in to vote out Butch.
So Matt is in the best position of the final three. He has agreements with
both Jenna and Rob to take him into the final two and appears pretty set.
Because the finale is two hours long, now we need tons of time filler to pad
the episode, so we get a long boring sequence of them all weighing
themselves and figuring out how much weight they've lost. It's best to
watch these finales on videotape because then you can fast forward through
all the crap of the swelling orchestra as they take a plane ride over the
Amazon and make "profound" statements about their experience. Then they
decorate themselves with beads, feathers, and paint to go into battle for
the final immunity challenge. Yawn.
The final immunity challenge is always an endurance challenge. There is one
bit of strategy in play for the final challenge. Matt, having agreements
with both Rob and Jenna realizes that if he throws the competition, either
of the other two will take him to the final two (assuming they stick to the
agreement), and it will keep him from having to stab someone in the back.
So Matt doesn't last too long before he falls off the perch he is balancing
on. True to form, Rob abandons the agreement he has with Matt and offers
Jenna a deal to take her to the final two if she lets him win immunity.
Jenna holds steadfast, though, and doesn't go for it. Rob stumbles, giving
Jenna the final immunity. She sticks to her agreement and votes out Rob,
making him the final member of the jury.
There's really nothing to do when there are only two left. Instead of
forcing them to walk by memorials to all of the previously voted out
Survivors, the producers decide to have them make it look more spontaneous
by having Matt and Jenna write the names of the Survivors voted out in order
and say something about each person. Some more fast-forwarding as they talk
about what it means to them to be in the final two. While fishing, Matt
finds the old canoe floating in the water. They fill it with wood and the
tree mail dude and douse it in lighter fluid. The resulting fireball would
make Eddie Murphy's father hang his head in shame. Now that's a fire!
Heading to the final tribal council we get a sneak preview of how the jury
might vote as they give their thoughts on the final two with a few
statements of sour grapes thrown in. There isn't much to the final
questioning by the jury - no rat and snake speeches here. This group didn't
get too hung up on being personally offended by game playing moves. They
seemed pretty content with the fact that lying and scheming was all part of
the game and willing to accept the fact that if someone did that to them,
they just got outplayed and weren't betrayed by a lifelong friend. So there
were no be revelations or accusations. Matt plays the "I worked hard to
provide for the camp" card, while Jenna plays the "I played the game hard"
card. They also both give Rob props for playing the game well (providing
the one amusing moment watching Heidi practically begging Jenna to say that
Heidi deserved to be in the final two.)
As usual, after the vote, the results must wait for the live show. Jeff
Probst deserves an Emmy for being able to pretend that he jet-skied from the
Amazon to New York with the votes. Just more of the Survivor hokiness that
is growing somewhat old. The final vote turns out to be a landslide as the
only vote that Matt receives is from Butch and Jenna becomes the latest