SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers for last night’s Survivor finale after the jump:
As happens so often in Survivor, Fans vs. Favorites ended with my two least favorite members of the Final Four making it to the very end. Not that I have any special liking for Natalie, who truly brought a special brand of crazy to the final jury (was she asking Parvati which way she swings in bed?), but having made it through as a fan in a season that heavily favored the aptly-named favorites would have been an accomplishment in itself. As for Cerie, she is my personal favorite, and after Thursday’s mind-blowing feat in which she and the remaining women actually persuaded Erik to give up his immunity necklace—it was like watching a pack of lionesses take down a baby gazelle—I am convinced that she is an actual Jedi.
Of course, for that reason, she may have been too great a threat for Amanda to bring to the jury anyway, but that brings me to my question: why is it that the person who wins the final immunity challenge—as Amanda has now done in two seasons—so often chooses the person who will defeat them? Maybe it’s just chance, but I also think that players immersed in the Survivor game lose sight of, or never had a sense of to begin with, how the juries actually vote on the winner. In particular, maybe because someone actually in the game is much closer to the emotions, they seem to overestimate how much juries will take likability into account, and underestimate their willingness to give the million to a schemer who outplayed them.
There Parvati seemed to understand what was going on, wisely owning up to having been a conniving so-and-so, whereas Amanda probably hurt herself by too transparently giving the jury the answers it wanted to hear. (Which, if memory serves, I believe hurt her in her first season finale as well.) She all but promised them a gas-tax holiday.
In a way, finales are the least satisfying episodes of Survivor to me, because I always feel as if people are voting on the basis of factors that were invisible to us during the actual show, inadvertently or thanks to editing. (I recall Australia, for instance, in which winner Tina came across as dead weight most of the season, but the jury voted for her to reward her execution of strategy that we never really saw.) That said, if Parvati really was the chief mastermind behind organizing the women’s alliance, then I can’t really argue with the vote.
In all, a pretty decent cap to what was a pretty excellent season—not just the Erik blindside, but all the others, not to mention the strong cast (of favorites, at least) and Ozzy’s brilliant fake-idol scam (“It’s a stick!”). What’s your vote on Survivor: Micronesia?