Jeff welcomes the audience to CBS Studio Center. Tonight there will be lots of interactive fun for the audience. He says. And, that sort of thing sucks for the West Coast, because all we get everything three hours late.
But anyway, we start out with a recap of what Jeff calls the “greatest social experiment on television.” This year was quite socially engineered, as the castaways were divided into tribes according to brawn, brains, or beauty.
After many twists and turns, we’re down to the brawn and brains. Tony is a cop, who summoned his inner bad guy to lie his way to the million dollars. Woo is a social and physical threat. “Chaos Kass” enjoys creating conflict. Spencer has been the season’s underdog.
Back at camp after the tribal vote, Tony is feeling bad. He voted Trish out for strategic reasons, but he knows she didn’t deserve it. Spencer is amazed to still be in the game, but he’s demoralized. Tony has the Special Snowflake Idol and he’s screwed. Kass, on the other hand, isn’t sure that Tony is telling the truth.
In the morning, Kass tells Tony that he made a mistake voting out Trish. Kass thinks people dislike Trish more than Tony realized.
A boat appears and Kass spots a familiar face. It’s her husband, caring a basket of food! He’s huge, bald, and adorable. I almost start liking Kass, seeing her hug her hubby. She confesses that she might even cry.
Spencer’s sister is there, bringing her unconditional love. Woo’s little cousin, Mikey is there, which is very meaningful to him. But equally meaningful is the presence of crunchy peanut butter. Tony is waiting for his wife to appear, but instead it’s his best friend, Arnold. Tony is openly disappointed, but realizes his wife probably didn’t want to leave their four month-old baby alone. It’s still touching, as Tony weeps just hearing news about his family.
The Tree Mail hints at an immunity challenge. Woo fantasizes about winning the million and proposing to his girlfriend (after asking her parents for permission). I think this is the first indication I’ve ever gotten that Woo is here for more than surf.
Kass tells her husband that she’s hated out in the jungle. She plans to play the sexism card, since her big moves would be applauded in a man. (I don’t know about that.) Spencer tells his sister that he’ll be at peace no matter what happens — and she doesn’t believe that any more than we do.
At Studio Center, Jeff shows us the green room, where the contestants are waiting. Then he takes us inside, and it’s pretty boring. It’s just a room. It doesn’t even look like there are snacks. And we get to see the re-civilized contestants before the final vote. Please don’t do this again, show.
The loved ones get to watch the immunity challenge. There are four very tall poles sticking out of the water. The players have to perch on the top, throwing a can into the ocean below. They draw the water up and pour it into a chute a good three feet below them. As the chute fills, a key rises. Once they can grab the key, they take it to shore and free a set of puzzle blocks. The first to assemble the puzzle wins.
Tony declares the challenge “no joke.” The poles are swaying in the wind and it looks scary as hell. Kass is shaking. But, on the other hand, the loved are there to shout polite encouragement. Tony and Spencer are the first to get their keys. Tony has a head-start, but he clubs down the pole. Spencer makes up time by jumping off the pole.
Woo gets the key next and soon all the guys are working on the puzzle. Kass gets her rope caught in on the key post, and has to climb down to untangle it. She finally manages to get the key and jumps into the water. By this time the others have their puzzles half-finished Kass moves slowly and steadily through the puzzle, and catches up to the others. Spencer starts to panic a little, as she pulls ahead. She has three pieces left, then two, then… Kass wins immunity!
Spencer is devastated to lose to “a brain-dead weasel like Kass.” But he vows to keep playing as hard as he can. He takes Tony into the woods and pitches the idea of voting out Woo. Spencer theorizes that it’s a final two, instead of a final three. At a final three immunity challenge, both Woo and Kass have an overwhelming motive to vote out Tony. But if Spencer is still there, then Spencer is a bigger target. If Tony votes for Woo, they’ll have a fire-making challenge. Spencer figures that’s better odds than a straight vote elimination.
Kass and Woo agree that Spencer needs to go. Woo tells this to the camera, and then gets confused about how the tie-breaker goes at Top Four. “Do we fight for it?” he asks.
At Tribal Council, Spencer goes over his theory again. He promises Tony to take him to the end, and to ask the jury to vote for someone else if he doesn’t. Woo claims that he was an integral part of the big moves, just quieter than others. Jeff asks Kass how she feels and she says she like options. She figures that, if it’s a “bitter jury,” Woo could win. Tony asks if she would rather go against him or Woo.
Kass replies that her chances are better against Woo. “Oh, shnap! Tony says, his mind going to eighty million directions. Spencer gives an I-told-you-so nod.
The vote is taken, and Tony takes a minute to explain his bluff with the Special Snowflake Idol (that it can be used at Top Four). Spencer looks amused.
But alas! Tony writes down Spencer’s name, and Jeff snuffs his torch. Spencer finds it stinging to be eliminated so close to the end, but hopes he can learn from the experience.
They show what happens when a contestant leaves, which is that they get weighed. Whoop de do. Jeff talks to Spencer’s mom, who fully expected him to get voted out on Week One. “So did I!” Jeff shouts. He then talks to Adam, a soldier from Afghanistan, who used bonding over Survivor as part of his recovery from 120 surgeries.
Back to the Island. The Final Three are depressed, because there is going to be another Immunity Challenge. Kass confirms with Woo that they need to get rid of Tony. Woo agrees, saying he’d be the stupidest Survivor ever to take Tony to the final jury.
The final challenge is a huge maze, with a little puzzle at the end. The players run through the maze, which has tricky turnstiles (some of which do not turn). They gather four medallions, which are used to open a chest. Inside the chest are wooden gears, which need to be assembled to make a crank machine. Cranking the machine raises a flag for the winner.
It seems to take forever, as Kass races through on one path, while Tony and Woo stick together. Woo is the first to get all four medallions, but Kass catches up with him when it comes to putting the machine together. Woo wins, but only by a millisecond. Kass likens it to running an Olympic marathon, only to lose by one second.
Jeff asks a kid who Woo should take to the end. The kid decides it’s best to take Kass, because no one respects her. Jeff hopes that Survivor lasts long enough for the kids to audition. “I cannot wait to snuff your torch!” he grins at them.
Woo finds his immunity necklace better than all the trophies he won at martial arts competitions. Kass is dismayed that the final decision is being made by the one person who made no decisions ever in the game. Both she and Tony make pitches to Woo. Tony’s pitch is about loyalty and honor (which he admits he wouldn’t buy), and Kass’s pitch is that’s she’s easier to beat than Tony.
Woo tells them both that he’ll consider their words. He’s conflicted. He lives by the principles of TaeKwondo: Discipline, Integrity, Respect, Loyalty, and Harmony of mind and body. If he turns on Tony, that contradicts who he is as a person. But with Tony, his chances are much worse.
At Tribal Council, Jeff starts to ask Woo about the pitches he received, but Woo cuts him off. He asks to go right into the vote. Where he votes Kass out.
Kass’s final words? “Stupid Woo!”
The next day, over breakfast, Tony thanks Woo for saving him. Woo interviews his hopes that the jury will respect him for keeping the stronger opponent. Tony, BTW, finds yet another clue in the food basket. Fortunately, it’s not another idol. It’s just a mirror and a scale. Tony looks in the mirror and sees a guy who needs a million dollars. Woo sees a fine man with a moustache.
The final Tribal Council begins. Tony emphasizes that his game wasn’t personal and he’s here to answer all their questions. He thanks Woo for bringing him to the end. Woo talks about the conflict of playing a game of deception and lies, while trying to uphold his values. He brings up his mother’s heart attack.
Jeff talks to Parvati Shallow (winner of Survivor: Micronesia). She loves Woo, but would vote for Tony to win.
Sarah is up first. She tells Tony that breaking a promise he swore on his police badge was over the line. She doesn’t think she can write down his name. She asks Woo if he would respect her if she played Woos’ game. Woo says he would.
Jefra asks Tony to own his backstabbing method, and threatens to write down Woo’s name if he give her any bull. To my mind, he does a lot of dancing around her question. He says he only broke his promise to people who broke theirs first.
Morgan is surprise that Tony managed to control people so well, when he doesn’t have her good looks. She tells Woo she respects him bringing Tony to the end.
Jeremiah says that, where he comes from, swearing by your wife and kids is sacred. He think it would be brilliant if Tony didn’t even have a wife and kids, so he asks, point-blank if Tony does. Tony says yes, and Jeremiah calls him pathetic breaking his oath. He asks Woo if he really came to win, and Woo says yes.
Tasha wants to know how Woo aligned himself with a villain like Tony. Woo explains how he was on the outs in Solana (after Cliff was voted out), and knew he was next, if he didn’t bond with Tony. Tasha makes a couple funny faces, then sits down.
LJ wants to know if Game Tony is real Tony. Tony explains that he was terrified of LJ, and how he scrambled to get him out of the game.
Kass wants to know why the hell Woo didn’t cut off the head of the dragon at the first opportunity. (Sorry, I can’t. Kass could have killed Tony so many times and she didn’t.) Woo replies that he was trying to be honorable. He felt Tony deserved to sit before the jury — and that Kass didn’t.
Trish gives a long, heartfelt speech to Tony about how she kept him in the game. It wasn’t Tony that people trusted. It was her. She put out a million little flames–all for Tony. And he swore that he was faithful on his father’s grave. She tells him how she lost her two brothers, and asks him if it’s worth a million dollars to lose his father’s soul and memory. Tony’s reply: Yes.
Finally, Spencer stand up. The great anti-climax to Trish’s tears. He compares Woo to a dog, which he tries to make insulting, but I’m not sure that it is. There are a lot of good qualities to dogs. Then, Spencer urges the jury to vote for Tony, who “played his ass off.” He says Tony played the game in a way that honored it.
The votes are taken and Jeff brings the votes to the live audience. He congratulates the cast for playing to win. The winner (by probably 8-1) is Tony. There’s the usual mayhem and celebration, and Tony is hugged by a crowd of middle-aged, bald men. Jeff explains that Tony’s wife couldn’t be at the taping because she’s about to give birth again!
Sarah is also pregnant, which leads to a segment about Cops-R-Us. Jeff asks how Sarah feels about Tony swearing on his badge. She dances around the question a lot, but the bottom line is — she doesn’t like and they aren’t really talking at the moment.
Jeff takes a moment to show an article. Apparently, Tony saved his neighbor’s life a couple months. He and a friend administered CPR to the man when he collapsed in his yard. Good for Tony.
Jeff takes a quick poll, would the jury have voted for Woo over Kass? Every hand shoots into the air. But Woo is feeling good about his decision He lives his life by the TaeKwondo principles.
Jeff reads a tweet from a fan saying Tasha should come back. She was a great player. How did it feel to be on such a sucky tribe? Tasha says she’d jump on every opportunity if she played again.
Spenser’s question is whether he gets PTSD whenever he reads a Charlie Brown comic. Spencer laughs and says he did get the football pulled away on him over and over again. The one thing he would do differently is that he would have shared his idol with Jefra, in order to keep her flipped. Spencer says that Tony played from his gut, which is not Spencer’s strong suit. He gets too much into his head sometimes. Jeff tell the story of Spencer’s casting meeting. He thought Spencer couldn’t possibly last in the game. Spencer asked Jeff to write a letter of apology if he won the season. Even though Spencer didn’t win, Jeff did write the letter — 15 days into the game. He hands it to Spencer.
We get a little bit with Tyler Perry, who’s a huge fan of the game. He suggested the special idol to Jeff and is willing to take the blame for it. He ended up hating it, but only because Tony found it. Like everyone else, Tyler was pulling for Spencer to find it. Jeff calls Tony an “idol hog.” Tony says having an idol is like using a club on your car. The thieves decide to move on to a more vulnerable target. Tyler Perry declares the moral: Don’t wait for clues! Search for those idols! He plugs his TV show on the OWN.
Cliff Robertson says Survivor is tougher than basketball. But he’d play again. David has no regrets about throwing Garrett out his tribe. Garrett was amazed at how quickly he fell apart, confronted with a wilderness where waitress don’t bring you chicken sandwiches at your seat. Morgan says her beauty doesn’t do everything for her, but it usually gets her through the door. J’Tia says the moral is: Don’t tell people you’re voting them out, because she’ll dump your rice out. And apparently, LJ is having no trouble getting ladies.
Finally, Jeff announces the new season of Survivor. It’s a San Juan Del Sur, and it’s another Blood vs. Water season.
Thank you all for reading these recaps. I’ll see you in the fall, unless Eric is able to resume his post as Recapped-in-Chief!