So, Candice Bergen won this whole damn thing. Good for you, Candice Bergen. You deserved it. Honestly this finale was rather a let down to watch, mostly because Candice Bergen’s win was as inevitable as a Hunger Games sequel. The only real surprise was that she didn’t take Miss Congeniality Alycia and Sad Sack Christina to the end but decided to stick out her alliance with Sabrina and some blonde ghost that kept wafting through the episode. But all of that is moot because, well, she won anyway.
Instead of going through the episode step-by-step (you probably already watched it!) let’s do a round up of things about it that I loved and that I hated.
Things I Loved:
The Winner: Candice Bergen clearly deserved to win. All season she dominated the game physically, strategically, and socially. She was the only one who seemed to do anything. Mike (or Matt, maybe. Whatever, it was one of the guys with abs) said at the final tribal that the flaw in her game is that she got all the blame for the blindsides. The problem is that with the blame comes the credit. Sabrina and Chelsea tried to pretend like they had game, but they really couldn’t point to one thing that they did to get them to the finals. Their arguments were all, “Oh, we tried not to do anything. We looked like we didn’t do shit on purpose.” Yeah, that’s a winning strategy.
Speaking of Kat, I loved her performance at the final tribal. I knew she was going to do something Krazy because the producers saved her until last, but when she got up there, she didn’t rant and ramble about how she got stabbed in the back, she went on this crazy diatribe about how she is forgiving everyone because she has had a million open-heart surgeries and that is why she thinks life is too short and she wants to have kids some day and she poured us all a margarita so dig in! Yeah, it didn’t make much sense, but it was cool.
The best outpouring of emotion all night, and perhaps all season, was Sabrina’s breakdown on the beach the final day when she told the camera that she was a laid-off teacher and really wished that she could have shared this experience with all of the kids who live in the tough neighborhood where she teaches to show that that anything is possible. I’m welling up even now. I’m shocked that there wasn’t some Kleenex Crying Booth for all the women to sob in. Get in that product placement!
The final final challenge, where the ladies had to maneuver little buckets through a rebar maze that looks like it was taken from the opening montage of the Cosby Show and stack them all up on top. This is much better than the endurance challenges that used to cap a Survivor season, because everyone has an equal shot. Even Christina almost made it to the end, and she hasn’t done anything since episode two where she got fire from the boys. Candice Bergen won, of course. She also won the challenge before, which was awesomely complicated. The contestants had to untie a bunch of knots, pull out a board, open a gate, walk on a balance beam maze, cross s cargo net, pick up puzzle pieces (with more knots), do a puzzle, count a bunch of stuff, run up a ramp, climb a ladder, put a combination from the puzzle into device pull out a sword, run around the island three times on one leg, say “How much Probst would a Jeff Probst Probst if a Jeff Probst could Probst Probst,” sit for an interview with the hostesses of The Talk, finish a dissertation on French existentialism, and then run for president. Whoever got the most votes from the electoral college would win.
Is it just me or were the last few season of Survivor really Jesus-y? I’m glad we got a finale where only Sabrina thanked God (and in a nice, tasteful manner) and there was no prayer circle, intoning the name of the savior, or discussion of Christian morals. Thank Christ.
NEXT: Things I Hated (Another Final Three?! Sigh.)
Things I Hated:
The March of the Fallen Comrades: The one thing I will say about the travesty of Redemption Island is that it got rid of the traditional “march of the fallen comrades,” where the final players walk by all the torches of the contestants voted out and remember each one. While this is a nice reminder of those who got kicked out (especially early in the game), it’s a huge waste of time and guaranteed fast-forward while watching. Can’t we find something else to fill up the time?
The Final Three:
Sorry, Survivor but it’s time to go back to having a final two like you used to in the old days. Not only does it rob the final immunity challenge winner of deciding exactly who he or she sits next to in the finale, it means that, even at the final four, there are enough people to force a tie and have all hell break loose. I think that’s bullshit. Also there is something way more inherently dramatic about a duo facing off rather than a polyamorous triumvirate, especially when one of those three hardly ever gets any votes. It’s never been anywhere close to a three-way tie and in the years where there were three people taken to the final, there is always one or more people who don’t really deserve to be there.
The Final Tribal Council:
Remember when people used to actually ask the final contestants a question and let them answer and that someone (like Todd Herzog in China) could talk their way into $1 million clams? Those days are gone. Now the final tribal council is the “airing of grievances” like Mr. Constanza has at Festivus. Each player gets up there, talks about themselves, doesn’t ask a question, and then sits back down. It’s like that annoying girl in your college class who started every comment she made with, “When I did a semester in Prague… ” We don’t care about you, Prague, or your statement. And stop being such selfish narcissists.
Miss Congeniality Alycia:
You were never a contender. You were never in control. You never played a good game. You never had pawns. Candice Bergen had you beat the whole mother floundering time. The rest is just your ego and delusion.
Tarzan’s Big Words:
His using a thesaurus like a bludgeon is not a character trait, it was an annoying affectation like his big, bushy mustache and his shirt, which was a cast off from a Color Me Badd video from 1997. Tarzan, we know you’re smart. You don’t have to tell us you’re acute, adept, agile, alert, apt, astute, bold, brainy, bright, brilliant, brisk, canny, clever, crafty, effective, eggheaded, fresh, genius, good, impertinent, ingenious, keen, knowing, long-haired, nervy, nimble, on the ball, pert, pointed, quick, quick-witted, ready, resourceful, sassy, sharp, shrewd, skull, slick, whiz, and wise too.
Intervention with Jeff Probst:
Yes, we know that the host of the game has to give commentary and he has to wring out as much drama as possible from the proceedings, but since when is Jeff Probst the authority on how to play the game of Survivor? He yells at Sabrina at the challenges for not being more of a force. Um, Jeff, did you ever think she might be trying not to win on purpose? Isn’t not winning as much of a strategic maneuver as winning? Then he cusses out Christina for not trying harder to convince the other women to keep her. She played the entire game with a shrug, why would you think she would fight now? And isn’t it okay to not fight? He may disagree with it, but it is her game and she’s welcome to play it any way she likes. I would like to see Jeff commenting more on what is going on and trying to influence the proceedings a little less.
That’s all I have to say for now. What did you love or hate? Do you love that they’re coming up with a reason to bring Colton back next season or do you hate them for it? Let me know!
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan