survivor recap: and so there were four.

probstAnd so, there were four remaining survivors on the Survivor island. It’s been a peculiar season. Lots of drama but not a lot of big moves; just noise and rancor ahead of an anti-climactic Tribal Council. Tonight’s penultimate episode was no different. Oh, sure. We had the editors teasing us into thinking this might be the end of the line for the most useless, most self absorbed player on the island, but it was not to be.

Spencer’s victory in the Immunity Challenge was crucial because, without that necklace, he would’ve been toast. It’s a good thing he gets to fight it out at the end because he’s been one of the better players this season. His problem is he started out on a tribe full of morons who either overthought or overplayed their hands.

With Spencer winning immunity, it meant someone from Tony’s alliance of dunces would have to go home. Alliance of dunces? Yes. What else would you call a group of people who, week in and week out, get blindsided by their own alliance and then remain loyal to it? Dunces. All of them!

Despite a big shouting match between Trish and Kass that left us with a glimmer of hope that we’d finally see that smug, dead look on Kass’ face get snuffed out, it was not to be. Trish was given the boot. It sort of makes sense, but at the same time, I really thought Tony would keep her to the end out of loyalty. But, as they say, loyalty don’t pay the bills! And for Tony’s sake, Trish on the jury is better for him than Kass on the jury. He already knows Kass won’t vote for him. But Trish? She might.

Honestly, I’m glad Trish is gone. She was a nearly useless player. She had zero strategy and less contribution in challenges. As near as I can tell, all Trish did was get skinny and make stupid faces when people talked about food. She was a lousy player, nothing more than a follower. Name one time when she made an actual move in the game. One time. Getting rid of Cliff? That was Tony. Lindsey quitting? That was Lindsey (and a bad, dumb move on her part). Sure, I would’ve rather seen Kass’s smug ass get voted off tonight, but Trish was nothing more than a spectator; a waste of space in Survivor.

So where does that leave this final four?
There are two strong players (both of whom deserve to win), one good-but-not-great player and one completely undeserving load. Betcha can’t guess who’s who, eh? Let’s break down the final four, in order.

1. Tony
Though he’s won no individual immunity challenges, there’s no question Tony’s been the smartest, shrewdest and most influential player this season. He’s controlled every single vote. He’s controlled nearly every aspect of the game. He’s a complete player. Of course, having immunity idols in your back pocket help, but let’s not forget many players have mishandled that same fortune. What I especially like is he’s playing up that special idol, too, by pretending it works in the next Tribal Council (which it does not). Tony’s played the game nearly perfectly. Has he made enemies? Name one Survivor champion who hasn’t? Spare me talk of “integrity” in Survivor. At some point, you have to get blood on your hands. Tony’s owned his game play. He is still running the show.

2. Spencer
At this point, I’m pulling for Spencer. He’s Tony’s greatest threat. Unlike Tony, Spencer has had to truly fight and claw and scratch his way to this point in the game. He’s had to survive! His only true mistake in the individual game was misplaying his immunity idol. He could’ve wrested control of the game away from Tony, but blew it. Nevertheless, no one else on that island has had to fight through as much adversity as Spencer. He started on a weak, brain-dead tribe that couldn’t get out of its own way. Then that weak, brain-dead tribe completely botched their early votes. Then he had to deal with that bonehead Kass blowing up a good strategy—one from which SHE herself would’ve benefited greatly, only to destroy it for no discernible reason other than being attention starved. Bottom line: Spencer and Tony SHOULD be there at the end. Chances are, one of them won’t be.

3. Woo
A good guy. A nice guy. An entertaining guy. Decent competitor and ally, but absolutely zero strategy. The last time I wrote about this season, I said Woo was one or two power moves away from being a serious contender. We’re still waiting for that power move, Woo. Every move he’s made keeps him in the game, but it really advances Tony’s strategy more than his won. Whether Woo knows it or not, he’s been Tony’s dutiful servant the entire game. Dutiful servants often make to the end, but they rarely win. Unless Woo does the unthinkable—gets rid of Tony—the best he can get is second place (depending on who’s in the final three).

4. Kass
“Chaos” Kass? More like “head-up-your-own-ass” Kass. One of the least deserving final four players ever. After dodging a bullet tonight, Kass will likely remain to the bitter end simply because she’s insurance: everyone thinks the jury hates her, so they’ll drag her along to the end. I was hoping they’d get rid of her simply because she’s smug for no good reason at all. She made one move in this game that did nothing to improve her lot. Had she remained with her original alliance instead of flipping, she’d be in a much better position to win.

As it stands, she’s pretty much alienated everyone on the island in one way or another. She has absolutely no allies on the jury. The only thing Kass ever said that was true is it takes big moves to win the game. Her big moves were pointless. Sure, she coasted the past few weeks in her alliance with Tony & Co., but how many times was she on the outside of a blindside, looking in? How many times did she really and truly engineer getting rid of someone? Trish? Please. Don’t flatter yourself. The only reason she’s out and you’re not is because Tony said so.

The Best of the Rest
I was disappointed when Tasha got voted off. She was one of the best players this season and, like Spencer, she had to fight to make it as far as she did. Four immunity wins showed she was a tough competitor. Her early strategy was suspicious and self defeating (protecting a weak, crazy player), but she always made sure she wasn’t at the bottom…until the merge. Tasha joins a long line of great players who get taken out simply because she was a threat.

The One That Got Away
In terms of game-changing strategies, the window was open for Jeffra, Tasha, Trish and Kass. They could’ve formed a powerful alliance that would’ve completely shaken up the game and taken control away from Tony. After a couple blindsides, you would’ve thought Trish would’ve started thinking for herself. She didn’t. And Jeffra…oy. She had multiple opportunities to change the game, yet kept running back to an alliance that kept her at the bottom. Survivor’s an unforgiving game. If you miss your window of opportunity, chances are, your torch gets snuffed soon thereafter.

So How Does It End?
It remains to be seen how the final three shakes out, but if Tony isn’t there, it means Spencer wins. If Spencer isn’t there, it means Tony wins. If Spencer and Tony are both there at the end, it becomes a close vote; possibly a tie. I see absolutely no scenario in which Woo or Kass win. Woo’s best hope is second place, if he’s there at the end with Spencer or Tony + Kass. Kass has no chance at higher than third place. I can’t imagine a single jury vote going her way. I really can’t.

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