May 12, 2013 08:54 PM by Stephanie Gustafson
How is it possible that we’ve already arrived at the season finale of Survivor? And continuing on that thread, how on Earth are we already finishing up season 26? Time flies when you’re watching people duke it out on a reality television show! On tonight’s Fans Vs Favorites episode, we get to see the pool of surviving castaways whittled down to just four. It’s almost time to learn the identity of this season’s winner!
The two-hour season finale launches with Jeff Probst offering a look back at a jam-packed season. Well, as this little series rewind proves, it wasn’t entirely jam-packed. The excitement definitely was lacking during the first several episodes of the season, but fortunately picked up as we drew closer and closer to the finale.
Despite his successes earlier on in the season, things are definitely not going well for Erik right now, to the point that he is forced to have the dubious sounding Dr. Joe and Dr. Jen come over. Dr. Joe declares Erik to be in a state of starvation and, after taking his blood pressure, decides that it’s the end of the road for this unlucky contestant. Makes sense though; somehow, I think the response wouldn’t be so hot if there was a death on the show.
Everyone says goodbye to Erik, and, although they act all sorry to see him leave, we all know that they’re actually relieved to see him out of the running. Cochran is especially a huge suck-up, telling Erik that, while he never intended to make friends during his time on Survivor, he has made a friend in Erik. And that’s what I call a friendship of convenience.
Next up: reward challenge. Once again, Survivor has gone and pissed off a ton of fans by turning the big reward into an advantage in the immunity challenge. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t allow viewers to see the natural interaction between contestants come the immunity round — everything is skewed by that earlier-won advantage.
This reward challenge might seem a bit familiar, for it features contestants trying to build houses of cards…but with one hand, and while trying to keep a balancing board steady. Cochran, not surprisingly, is the first to wipe out his house and Sherri’s not far behind. Dawn nearly makes it and then, one card away from the top, watches in disbelief as the whole thing comes toppling down. Finally, after everyone has come super close multiple times, Cochran is the one to pull off the feat.
Tree mail arrives and we learn that it’s time for the final meetup with all the fallen comrades. AKA, the part where the remaining contestants have to make up a bunch of crap about how much they miss everyone that they in fact are thrilled to have booted out of the competition. While the tree mail makes it look like this little tribal council will take place at sea, it actually ends up being on land again. As usual, it’s an awkward affair and I’m happy when it’s over. It is nice to see that Erik looks a little better in the aftermath of being deemed medically unfit to continue.
The last immunity challenge arrives and it has contestants racing up a tower to retrieve puzzle pieces, sliding down to the bottom and then repeating the process multiple times. From there, they must build fire puzzles. Cochran’s advantage is that he does not have to untie his bags of puzzle pieces before running back up to the top of the tower. Doesn’t sound like much, but it actually proves to be a significant advantage. And thus, Cochran wins another challenge.
At this point, it’s pretty obvious that Cochran’s got this win in the bag. Now, he just needs to decide who will get the consolation prize. He eliminates Sherri as a possibility almost immediately and Eddie soon after. Dawn has her problems, but in this scenario, she’s the smart choice. At any rate, Eddie is a shoo-in for elimination, cutting the pool of contestants down to just three.
In the final tribal council, we get to listen as Dawn explains why she has made the choices she has on the show. And she’s actually pretty succinct. Sherri, on the other hand, proves exactly why she will not be winning this season, boasting about the business she owns and how great she is in general.
Thus beginneth a round of juicy drama, with everyone taking the opportunity to air out their grievances. This includes Erik, who, despite having been thrown out due to medical necessity, is still pissed off at Dawn…and Sherri. Surprised by Erik’s wrath, Sherri declares that she has no need of his vote. Oh, silly Sherri, you definitely need that vote. Or maybe Sherri’s not so silly. It’s pretty obvious at this point that there is absolutely no chance for her to win.
Erik’s outburst proves to be absolutely nothing in light of Brenda’s little rant about how much she hates Dawn. Yes, we know Dawn voted her out and maybe it wasn’t the best move, but Brenda’s need for retaliation feels a bit excessive. Apparently she missed Dawn’s little speech about why she made the choices she did. Brenda decides that the best way to get back at Dawn is to force her to take out her teeth. Up until now, I’ve always thought of Brenda as a pretty likeable woman, a quality that often seems pretty rare on this show (which is understandable, given the circumstances). But this really is a below-the-belt response that has me feeling a bit relieved that Brenda was cut last week. Interesting that she chooses now to show her true colors.
Finally, it’s time for the members of the jury make their decisions. And for Jeff Probst to deliver the results. I’m hoping for a funny vote delivery but wind up disappointed as Jeff just saunters in. And although we already all know that Cochran’s got the win in the bag, we need Jeff to read off the inevitable…and yup, this win goes to Cochran!
And there you have it. The most anticlimactic win to ever grace Survivor. Were you expecting a victory from Cochran? And do you think the show needs to quit with the whole immunity advantage thing? Feel free to voice your reaction in the comments section below!
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Photo Credit: CBS.