Welcome back to my Survivor: Philippines recap! Join me as I breakdown the Season Finale and Reunion Show, including Malcolm’s choke, Denise’s victory and Dawson’s kiss!
Before I kick off the recap, I’d just like to take a moment to offer our condolences to everyone involved in the Connecticut shooting. All of the Survivor Oz team are thinking of our American friends during these tough times.
First up we get the usual look back at how the remaining castaways got to the position they are in. It’s quite long this year, which is always enjoyable. I won’t go through it all because we all know what’s happened… it’s basically the usual “thanksgiving recap episode” edited into seven minutes.
Our two hour Finale kicks off with the Final Four returning to camp after successfully voting out their crazy Brazilian friend (Abi-Maria) from the game. Naturally, this leads to more ‘Abi bashing’ as the Final Four begin to comment on how fantastic it is that Abi’s negativity has finally left camp Dangrayne.
Malcolm is less than impressed by Abi’s exit. After getting thrown under the bus by Abi, Malcolm’s game is once again in damage control as he hastily seeks out Skupin to check on their Final Three alliance. Skupin reassures him he has nothing to worry about and their plan will work out. Skupin then gives a confessional about how he believes he can beat Malcolm at the Final Tribal Council by telling a better story, because his life’s achievements extend outside of the game.
The following morning, the castaways receive some very cryptic tree mail, leaving them wondering whether they have a Reward or Immunity Challenge. I’m certain it will be an Immunity Challenge, thus making my Final Two, nine-person Jury prediction correct. Denise begins to panic believing she is on the chopping block if it is an Immunity Challenge.
Unfortunately, the suspense is ruined when our trusty hash tag appears letting us know that it is a Reward Challenge. This means you should never take my end game predictions seriously ever again.
The Challenge is a reasonably good one. The castaways have to race through different sets of obstacles, collecting three bags of puzzle pieces along the way. Once they have collected all three bags, they will then use the pieces inside the bags to complete a puzzle of Coach Wade… ah; I mean a puzzle in the shape of a dragon (go on, laugh at my lame joke).
The prize is an interesting one; an advantage at the Final Immunity Challenge. I’m completely thrown by this, since when do they hand out advantages at the Final Immunity Challenge? Terry Dietz must be sitting at home right now furious at the fact all he got was a stretcher bed and some food as his advantage for the Final Immunity Challenge.
Enough controversy and back to the challenge. The first stage see’s the castaways cross a balance beam and then climb up and over a bamboo A-frame. Everyone is pretty even as they set to work on untying their first bag. Denise is first to untie her bag, followed closely by Skupin and Malcolm, with Lisa bringing up the rear. Everyone clambers through a bamboo pole maze then moves onto another balance beam where the next bag of puzzle pieces is attached in the middle. Malcolm takes a minor tumble on the balance beam, which doesn’t cost him much time. Skupin overtakes Denise, moving onto the final stage first, Denise and Malcolm are right behind, with Lisa still in last place as she continues to struggle.
The final obstacle is a steep ramp which the castaways have to run up, (with the assistance of a rope), in order to retrieve their final bag, before descending the ramp to work on the puzzle. Skupin retains his lead, with Denise and Malcolm hot on his heals as Lisa does her best to stay in the challenge.
As we get to the puzzle, Probst continues to remind us that a victory in this challenge, could be worth a million dollars – I believe that’s one of his favourite “go to” lines.
Denise pulls ahead of Skupin who has struggled all season long on puzzles. Malcolm and Lisa work their way into it, overtaking Skupin, who begins to fall out of the running. As it comes down to it, the challenge is between the two former Matsing members; Denise and Malcolm. Malcolm edges out Denise to take out the win as he continues his dominate display with puzzles this season.
So, the biggest physical threat in the game wins an advantage in the Final Immunity Challenge. Not exactly the best thing that could have happened. Jeff gives Malcolm a sealed note, which he tells him to keep, sealed until the challenge and then dismisses Dangrayne back to camp.
Jeff hands Malcolm the note explaining his advantage in the Final Immunity Challenge. (Image credit CBS)
Back at camp, Malcolm is over the moon that he won the advantage. He states that his plan is going well, Denise will be leaving tomorrow night and that he can beat Lisa and Skupin at the end. Thing’s aren’t going well for Lisa; she’s upset at the fact that Malcolm has an advantage, especially when he’s already very difficult to beat.
Denise decides to solidify her alliance with Malcolm. After getting him on his own, she makes a play, trying to get Malcolm to commit to her cause. Malcolm tries his very best to reassure Denise that he’s sticking with her, but doesn’t commit to her, which Denise see’s right through, causing her to begin to scramble to create a counter-alliance against Malcolm.
Denise seeks out Lisa, who does her best to convince Lisa that keeping Malcolm around isn’t in their best interest because he will easily get the required amount of Jury votes. Denise then gives her word to Lisa that if she has to vote for Malcolm, she will. Lisa’s strategy has improve though; whilst she hugs Denise and somewhat agrees to her plan, she doesn’t give Denise her word without talking to Skupin.
Denise then turns to Skupin, letting him know that she will vote for Malcolm if it will keep her in the game, then heads off for a swim allowing Lisa and Skupin to discuss their options. The pair weighs up their options, with Skupin giving another confessional where he reiterates he still believes he can beat Malcolm.
The following morning dawns, were we see Skupin talking to Lisa about not being able to control how the Jury votes, but how they can control the outcome of the Final Immunity Challenge. Skupin tells Lisa that one of them has to win; Lisa on the other hand wants to let Denise win, because she will take them to the Final Three and will be beatable because she “hasn’t played the game”. Skupin doesn’t agree, however the pair agree that one of them needs to beat Malcolm. This leads to confessionals with Lisa confessing that Skupin isn’t that switched on, whilst Skupin admits he wants to win the Final Immunity Challenge so he controls who makes the Final Tribal Council.
After collecting tree mail, the Final Four set off on their Rites of Passage. I love this. It’s one of the best parts about the Finale. It’s good to see it’s been included again after it’s omission in Redemption Island and South Pacific.
This season, the Final Four collect representative name plates of their fallen comrades. To summarise what the eliminated castaways said…
Zane – Realises he tried to make a big move too early in the game, however believes his tribe voting him out was stupid and it resulted in Matsing being completely useless.
Roxy – Was herself on the show because that’s what she does, she keeps it real
Angie – Defends herself quite well, stating she isn’t just a dumb blonde and her bubbly personality is how she lives her life.
Russell – Continues to degrade Matsing saying they were the worst tribe in Survivor history and getting voted out fourth was “humiliating”.
Dana – Comments on how her body let her down; however her heart was in the game
Dawson – Talks about how she wanted to plant a “big wet one” on Probst.
Katie – Says she was happy to last sixteen days.
R.C. – Complains that she was ostracized from early on because Abi took her Idol and her clue, whilst also saying she was an asset to Tandang.
Jeff – Said he’s happy he didn’t piss anyone off (You lie Jeff, you pissed off a lot of viewers by having a one-dimensional strategy – vote out the veterans), and complains about meeting brats during his MLB career.
Artis – Says he was always going to stay loyal to Tandang who should have been capable of eliminating the other tribes.
Pete – Says he was proud of his game and his only downfall was keeping Abi around; however, because she had the Idol he didn’t have a choice
Penner – Praises the game and how much he loves and respects it
Carter – Said he stayed true to himself and developed good relationships
Abi – Was surprised she was so disliked by others but was proud she didn’t go down without a fight and left with her head held high.
The Final Four then lit the final structure and watched on as the names of their former tribe members burned.
The Final Four watch on as they name plates of their former tribe members go up in flames. (Image credit CBS)
Enough emotional stuff and onto the Final Immunity Challenge! To be honest, it’s a bit of a let down as it’s a repeat of the Final Immunity Challenge from Survivor: Micronesia; with one very small alteration.
Each castaway was giving a wooden cylinder cut into pieces. On the middle section of cylinder was a small indentation where they had to balance a ball. Using two handles to hold each end of the pieces of wooden cylinder, they had to balance the ball. Each round lasted five minutes with two more wooden pieces being added each round.
The difference in Micronesia was that the ‘handles’ were the ends of a paddle; so in other words, it’s exactly the same.
Malcolm finally learns that his advantage in the challenge is that he has a second chance – if at any point he drops his ball, he isn’t out of the challenge and can re-enter it.
I have to say, this “twist” is up there with some of the worst I’ve seen in Survivor. In theory, it’s a good idea, however when you think about it, to have two chances in the most important challenge of the season, it’s pretty unfair. Can you imagine if Tom Westman or Ian Rosenberger had a second chance in the Survivor: Palau Final Immunity Challenge? It’s probably lucky they didn’t because they’d most likely still hanging onto those buoys.
Malcolm, Michael, Lisa and Denise compete in the Final Immunity Challenge. (Image credit CBS)
The challenge begins and everyone gets through the first round comfortably. The second round sees Malcolm drop his ball; thus his ‘second chance’ comes into effect and the round begins again. After a lot of shaking and some good saves, Malcolm can’t hold it together and drops out of the challenge again. Just let me pause here for a minute to give you a definition.
Choking – When an athlete fails to perform in pressure conditions
I have to say, that applies nicely to Malcolm. The guy had two chances! Cirie Fields, a woman in her mid thirties lasted longer in this challenge than Malcolm did! I’m sorry to say, nerves got the better of Malcolm. (He later admits this in a confessional).
Back to the challenge were just before the end of the round, Denise drops out of the challenge; granting Skupin his wish, that either himself or Lisa wins Immunity.
Both make it through the remainder of the second round, then cruise through the third round. A further two pieces are added and the fourth round begins. Both begin to struggle as the cylinder has increased in length, making it very difficult to balance the ball. After some dramatic camera angles, where both Skupin and Lisa make some brilliant recoveries, Lisa drops her ball leaving Skupin to win the Final Immunity Challenge. I gotta say, it did leave me feeling good. Not only did Skupin get evacuated because he had the most serious injury the game has seen, he also outlasted both Russ Swan and Penner and now has a guaranteed place in the Final Three. It truly is a Survivor fairytale for everyone’s favourite ‘boar killer’.
Skupin celebrates with Probst after winning Immunity. (Image credit CBS)
Once back at camp, everyone congratulates Skupin on winning the challenge. Malcolm admits that when he gets nervous, his hands begin to shake and he knew he didn’t have a chance to win; even with his advantage.
Skupin expresses his emotions in a confessional, amazed at the fact he has made it to the end, he now how to choose whether to keep Denise or Malcolm.
Malcolm admits that he’s worried about Tribal Council because he knows the game well enough to know he might be in for a “nasty surprise”. Denise admits to Lisa and Skupin that she is still on board to vote out Malcolm. In a confessional, Denise expresses her anger at Malcolm for not sticking with her in order to split the vote, whilst she also criticizes Skupin for not being able to make a decision.
Denise takes some time with Skupin to plead her case. She does a good job convince Skupin that whilst going against Malcolm is extremely honourable, it’s also a huge risk when your competing for a million dollars. Denise begins to get emotional; pleading for respect and denying that her tears aren’t a ploy. Skupin admits that the obvious decision is to vote out Malcolm, however keeping Malcolm around and beating him is the honourable thing to do. This is where Skupin has really struggled this season. Way back when he played in season two, the game was a lot different, there wasn’t as much backstabbing and foul play. Going up “against the best” is a very “old school” way to play Survivor that doesn’t always work – Colby Donaldson will be the first to tell you that.
Skupin then confirms to Malcolm that Denise is trying her best to stay alive before heading off with Lisa to talk about the vote. Skupin is still very confused about whether to keep Denise or Malcolm. He’s leaning towards keeping Malcolm, whilst Lisa’s finally starting to think strategically and wants to get rid of Malcolm. As we go off to Tribal Council, a confessional from Lisa plays as she swears she’s going to do whatever it takes in order to not hand Malcolm the title of Sole Survivor.
As expected, this Tribal Council was easily one of the best of the season. Early on, everyone compares alliances and loyalty and whether either or both still exist at this stage of the game. Malcolm compares his ‘storyline’ in the game with Denise, then goes onto say that he was aligned with Angie and cut her throat, he’ll do the same to Denise.
Denise retaliates, questioning Malcolm’s loyalty and throwing him under the bus. This prompts Probst to ask Lisa whether the alliance between Denise and Malcolm is broken. Lisa says yes; then suggests that her alliance with Skupin hasn’t always been ‘sunshine and lollypops’ as they have gone their separate ways in the game.
Skupin then says that Malcolm has favours for life after he allowed his son to have the ‘Survivor experience’. Lisa on the other hand, doesn’t believe in favours when a million dollars is on the line as she would much rather take out the biggest threat. Malcolm admit he is concerned that he is the biggest threat, but acknowledges that Denise played a much cleaner game then himself because she never had to flip against alliances and she is the only Kalabaw member remaining.
Skupin begins to toss up the possibilities of the vote, and gives reasons for why he would want to take Malcolm to the end. When Probst asks Lisa if she has any reason to take Malcolm to the end, she hesitates for a long time, only answering after she is prompted by Malcolm that she has no reason to take him to the end. Malcolm comments that what Lisa said is upsetting; especially when they had deals that extending beyond the game. (Ah Malcolm, what kind of deals extend beyond the game?)
We get to the vote. Denise and Malcolm vote for each other, leaving the outcome of the vote up to Lisa and Skupin. The pair decides that Malcolm is to bigger threat, siding with Denise and thus making Malcolm the final Jury member.
Malcolm is considerably surprised and devastated. As he gets up to collects his torch, he congratulates Denise on winning a million dollars.
Malcolm… the tribe has spoken. (Image credit CBS)
There we have it; our Final Three; Denise, Lisa and Skupin. I know a lot of people will hate to read it, but Malcolm deserved to win, he played a fantastic game so to go home when he did, with his Final Three alliance turning on him, he has a right to be devastated. In his final words, Malcolm reveals that he had so much control of the game and encouraged the others to take control of their future so much, that he became too much of a threat. He states that for a lifelong fan of Survivor, getting sent home at this stage of the game is “painful”.
The Final Three. (Image credit CBS)
Back at camp on night thirty-eight, everyone is suffering from the brutal Tribal Council. Confessionals with Denise and Skupin play. Denise states that Malcolm played a fantastic game and tonight was he night she outwitted him; Skupin makes reference to Malcolm congratulating Denise on winning the title of Sole Survivor saying that he’ll have a lot to say about that not being that case.
The usual antics on day thirty-nine occur. The trio hike up to the cliff in the morning to see the sunrise, receive the celebratory breakfast hamper via tree mail and confessionals from all three about how they played the game.
Denise says that she is extremely proud of her game. Skupin says he was nervous at the beginning because he was a returning player, however he knew he could make it to the end because he would have done it in season two. Lisa remarks that she feels good about who is in the Final Three and that she’s had the experience of a lifetime. They then do the ceremonial “burning of the shelter” before heading out to the Final Tribal Council.
After Jeff does his usual introductions and explanations, Denise kicks us off with opening statements. She begins by saying that she isn’t going to apologise for any of her actions. She says she deserves to win the game because of her ability to play strong strategic and social games on three different tribes. She comments on her value in challenges and around camp; as well as her ability to make game changing moves and her ability to survive every Tribal Council.
Up next is Lisa who states that everyone was able to “outwit, outplay and outlast everyone in different ways.” She acknowledges her strategy wasn’t the best but it improved through the game as she learnt more about herself as well as how her brother helped her realise that it was just a game.
Skupin wraps it up by suggesting his ability to survive with his back against the wall on multiple occasions was a sign of how well he played the game. He says he loves and respects the game and played his heart out to win.
All in all, three reasonably good speeches. I thought Denise took the cake for the best one, which surprised me because I thought Skupin would be able to put a really strong opening statement together with all the public speaking he’s done.
The eight person Jury – Jeff, Pete, Carter, Malcolm, R.C., Artis, Penner and Abi-Maria. (Image credit CBS)
Our attention turns to the Jury; with Artis kicking us off. Artis begins by saying he can’t congratulate the Final Three because he believes they started the game saying they would play with loyalty, and ended the game very different. He says they now have to “suffer the consequences” of their actions and that “karma is a bitch.” (I think someone is a little bitter?)
Carter is up next and he takes a very different angle. He congratulates Lisa and Skupin on making it all the way to the end after appearing to be easy targets. He then asks Skupin to explain what happened the night he was sent home. Skupin explains that Carter was too likeable to keep in the game because he was a huge threat to win. He states that they wanted to keep him around, but strategically couldn’t and that it was part of the game and not a reflection of their friendship.
Pete accuses Lisa of hiding behind the votes of others when it came to members of her alliance being blindsided. Lisa admits she didn’t know Artis was going home that night and that’s why she voted the way she did. Pete then asks Denise why she played a better game than the other two. Denise says she was forced to play a much more aggressive strategic and social game because of the misfortunes of Matsing. She continues to say that she should have been sent home when she joined Kalabaw or in the early stages of the merge but wasn’t because she worked on forcing her way into cracks in alliances.
R.C. doesn’t really do much other than laugh. She tells Lisa that the first day she saw her on the boat; she wanted her gone early because she knew she would be a good player. She then accuses Skupin of not telling her what was happening the night she was sent home, which Skupin assures her he wasn’t aware that was the case.
Malcolm states that he had no questions or statements for them tonight until the others began to question them. He says after hearing their answers, he is strongly considering voting for Lisa. Malcolm tells Denise that during the game, she used her role as a therapist to appease people in order to stay alive. Malcolm asks Denise to explain why she deserves to win over the other two and to explain herself without being nice. Denise says her ability to listen and observe was crucial to her game. It allowed her to strategize in a way that made her seem nice, whilst in fact she was playing the game; which she played better than Lisa or Skupin.
Jeff says that he is bitter but is handling it well. He asks Skupin what type of person is he – a doer, a watcher or a what in the world just happened guy. Skupin says he is a doer because during the game his neck was on the line the entire time up until Penner went home. Jeff tells Lisa she is very similar to Denise but didn’t play as good of a game because she was always floating in the middle. Lisa denies this, saying she made the first big move in the game. Jeff disagrees, saying the move didn’t work and that she didn’t try to plan anything else. Lisa states that the plan didn’t work because they always had a fall back plan in order to keep Tandang strong.
Abi admits she was “heart broken” to find out she was called the most unlikable person. She asks Lisa why she is deserving of the title of Sole Survivor. Lisa says she feels she deserving because she was true to her alliance with Abi until the alliance was broken. Abi asks Skupin whether he cares why and whether he gets her vote. Skupin says he deserves her vote because he outwitted, outplayed and outlasted everyone else and did it the best. Abi says that she doesn’t believe outright disrespect was part of the game. Abi then tells Denise she didn’t want to be remembered in the game because she was labelled. Denise goes against her opening statement and apologises to Abi for her actions, however says she wouldn’t take them back and the reason they didn’t get along was because their personalities were so different.
Penner finishes off the Jury speech by admitting he is bitter that he isn’t sitting in the Final Three. He concedes that he understands how difficult the Final Tribal Council is for the Final Three and his only intention is to make it more difficult. (I love you Penner!)
Penner tells Denise that the true side of her was shown during the game and that she was a bitch. Turning his attention to Skupin, he informs him he has never had his name written down at Tribal Council. Penner admits he has had his name written down “fifteen times” which was previously a record before Phillip Sheppard broke it. Penner states that whilst it’s a good thing Skupin’s name was never written down; he will maintain that perfect record tonight.
Next, Penner turns to Lisa and asks whether she would like to share some information about their friendship, or whether he could? Lisa agrees and Penner goes onto tell everyone about Lisa’s former life as a television star during her adolescent years. Lisa asks why Penner didn’t share stories about his adolescent years. Penner replies by saying he doesn’t share a lot of things, (including when he didn’t tell them he was going to the bathroom sixteen days ago), because his adolescent years wouldn’t have affected how the game played out. He goes onto say that two people in this game are riding one person like an oxen. That one person is in the chariot being pulled by those two oxen, whilst the two other people watch the chariot rider achieve glory.
All in all, a very entertaining Final Tribal Council – at least it was much more entertaining that One Word. (Where the only memorable moment was Jonas revealing he was a Jedi Master)
We get onto the votes where we see R.C. cast a vote for Lisa, Carter cast his vote for Skupin, (written as ‘Skoopin’ on the parchment), and Penner casts his vote for Denise. This marks the second occasion that all three finalists have received at least one Jury vote. (The first occurrence was in Survivor: China).
Jeff goes to collect the votes, congratulates everyone before a nice transition sees us go straight into the Reunion Show. Before Jeff reads the votes, a minute’s silence is held for the Connecticut shooting victims and families.
We get to the votes and after revealing the three votes we original saw, Denise takes a clean sweep, getting six out of the eight possible votes to be crowned the Sole Survivor! I gotta say, she played a fantastic game and thoroughly deserved to win. It’s good to see the Jury could put aside their bitterness to vote for the most deserving winner.
Denise is congratulated by Lisa and Skupin. (Image credit CBS)
The Reunion was pretty good for ‘Reunion standards.’ Other than the usual stuff that gets talked about; Lisa won the Sprint Player of the Season over Malcolm (robbed again?), Dawson hit the target this time, landing a kiss on Probst lips, Pete burned R.C., we found out all about next season and we found out that Carter was “really hungry.”
The castaways reunite at the Reunion Show. (Image credit CBS)
To summarise what each Castaway said:
Zane – Recognises he mad a bad move and wasn’t a ploy to orchestrate a quit.
Roxy – She was upset a lot of the time during the game but it was still a great experience that she’s proud of.
Angie – Best experience of her life and didn’t care about what people said about her comments
Russell – The rain was miserable and was the hardest thing to deal with
Dana – Doesn’t remember much about getting sick. Didn’t believe that she had a choice because she was in so much pain she just needed help. Put the Survivor Oz Offices on high alert when she came up with a “what if I didn’t get sick scenario”.
Dawson – Kisses Probst. Probst reacts by admitting Dawson isn’t as good of a kisser as his wife.
Katie – Forgives Probst for continuously calling her out in challenges and admits still had a great time on the show and after she was voted off with the pre-merge castaways.
R.C. – Says Abi was the downfall of her game and was the reason that both of them didn’t win. Also said that Pete’s move to plant the Hidden Immunity Idol clue in her bag was the worst move in Survivor history. (You clearly haven’t seen as much Survivor as you say you have!)
Jeff – Probst compliments his exit speech and his sportsmanship. Says his game plan to take out Penner was done to put the attention on Penner and away from him. Likened Survivor to Baseball because you’re always anticipating the opponent’s next move.
Artis – Tells Probst that whilst he might have appeared angry, he wasn’t… that’s just him.
Pete – Thought the incident with R.C. and Abi was funny. When R.C. degrades the move he made planting the Hidden Immunity Idol Clue, he points out that she’s still bitter – which she doesn’t like.
Penner – Had no idea what Jeff Kent was trying to do in the game. Said he never lied to Lisa and that was why he didn’t make a Final Four deal. Didn’t realise how fast the end game was coming and he should have made the deal.
Carter – The game really took a toll on his body and personality. Confesses he was hungry a lot of the time.
Abi – Learned a lot about herself from the experience and intends to use the criticism to grow and learn from her mistakes. (Note: I was really surprised by Abi. In game, she seemed to be the immature person compared to R.C. but if the Reunion and Ponderosa videos are anything to go by, R.C. is the immature one.)
Malcolm – Still angry that has as a huge fan he came so close to winning. He says he would “consider” playing again. Believed Lisa and Skupin were really going to take him to the end. Knew going into the Final Immunity Challenge he wasn’t going to be any good at it. Name drops Parvati – I believe they are both single, maybe he’s interested? Said the best moment of the game was diving with the whale sharks and that his experience comes from being self-confident.
Lisa – Rambles on for a while about how it was God’s will how the season played out. To be honest I had no idea what she was trying to say, (and judging by her cast mates facial expressions, neither did they). Has a dig at Jeff Kent’s exit speech and admits she never expected to win. Wins the Sprint Player of the Season award.
Skupin – Says he expected to win. Gets a highlight package of all his injuries during the season played, and then gets presented with the shattered diving mask. Jeff jokes that he would get several calls a day whilst filming that Skupin was getting injured.
Denise – Thought she was a goner when it came down to the Final Four and her biggest move was cutting Malcolm loose. The experience and the fame have done her a world of good in her career. Receives her cheque for a million dollars, calling the prize money life changing for someone who lives in Iowa.
Jeff Probst hands Denise Stapley her million dollar cheque. (Image credit CBS)
Probst also asked that if Malcolm had made it to the Final Tribal Council, would he win, with only two Jury members admitting they would vote for him.
As always, we get a preview of next season which is another returning player season. Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favourites returns on February 13th. It will feature ten returning players and ten fans like the original Fans vs. Favourites format did.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a with facts
– This seasons Final Three had the highest average age (46.7 years) out of every single Final Three
– Denise becomes the twelfth female winner
– This season is only the second season where all members of the Final Three receive a Jury vote (following Survivor: China)
– Denise is the first winner from the state of Iowa.
– Michael Skupin has never had a vote cast against him in two seasons of Survivor
– Denise Stapley attended every single Tribal Council during the season as an active player (not a Jury member), a record in Survivor.
The final sexual innuendo comment from Jeff has once again been taken over. Why? Because Dawson once again stole the show.
Dawson plants a “big wet one” right on Probst. (Image credit CBS)
That’s all she wrote folks! The twenty-fifth season is now in the books. It gave us plenty of entertainment and our twelfth female winner! Stay tuned to our website over the coming months as we count down to Survivor: Caramoan– Fans vs. Favourites where I hope to continue writing recaps and analysing the season!
It’s been a blast! Until then… the tribe has spoken.
What did you and the castaways think about the result?
Read our Report Card on each of the players here
What an amazing season!
It’s still very fresh in our minds, but I think I would have to give this season close to a top 10 ranking. I loved it, I thought it was great and I think the finale certainly wrapped it up well. The challenge that gave Malcolm and advantage though was a waste of time (#pointlesschallenge was an appropriate hash tag CBS). Really? An advantage at the final immunity challenge? What is the point? It was the perfect chance to have a final 2 again, something that a lot of fans are calling out for but something that they don’t seem interested in doing ever again. It didn’t work out for Malcolm of course either, given he was faced with a final immunity challenge that didn’t suit him. I thought he could’ve done better though, but given I’m watching from my couch at home and have never tried that challenge, who am I to judge? It was sad to see Malcolm go as he would’ve been great at the final tribal council, but he joins a long list of contestants who are voted out just before the final challenge and may be considered as the best player of their respective season.
The final tribal council wasn’t overly spectacular. Denise’s opening statement was great and it really set the groundwork for her win and I think she did a great job. Lisa did better than I was expecting but she really didn’t stand a chance. The biggest surprise to me is that Skupin didn’t receive more votes. Honestly I was expecting him to be in with a really good shot at taking home the prize and to walk away with only 1 vote was a shock. I was happy though to see for only the 2nd ever time all three people getting votes, and it was interesting to see the oldest combined final tribal council age in the history of the show happen this season. As an advocate for older players, this certainly made me happy!
The reunion was hit and miss. The Dawson moment I have to say would be the greatest single moment in the history of any reunion! I have not laughed that hard at my TV in a very long time! But other moments such as the huge Lisa focus was just a bit of a yawn fest. Denise and Skupin seemed to be completely ignored which was disappointing, and even Penner and Russ weren’t spoken to too much. It was good to see everyone get a word in for once, but it turned into the Lisa show. And Lisa winning fan favourite? Don’t even get me started…
Next season looks interesting. It hasn’t really been a secret what was happening, and hasn’t been a secret as to who is returning. But it will be intriguing to see how these 10 returning players compete against 10 new players once again. It worked well in Micronesia, so it’ll be interesting to see if lightning will strike twice!
In just under 2 months it’ll all be go again for season 26! I’m counting down the days already!
Well there we have it, season twenty-five is done and dusted.
Overall, I think it was a decent season. It will by know means crack my top five; its just one of those solid, middle of the road seasons that is enjoyable on a re-watch.
I think Malcolm is very stiff not to win. I’m not taking anything away from Denise, she played a great game to, I just feel that Malcolm deserved it more because he was the ‘face’ of the alliance who copped a lot of the heat for the moves they made. I’m not saying Denise coat tailed, I’m just saying that every time a move was made against the alliance, Malcolm was the primary target – Denise would only become the target because Malcolm had either Individual Immunity or the Hidden Immunity Idol. All in all, I think Malcolm played one of the best first time, male castaway games I’ve seen since Russell debuted on our screens in Samoa.
As for Denise, she played a great game and her performance at the Final Tribal Council was brilliant. I think the fact that she didn’t apologise for what she did in the game and I agree with a majority of her arguments – she definitely outplayed Lisa and Skupin. Personally, her win has to be up there as one of the biggest comebacks ever. On something like day ten, she was part of a two-person tribe! Based on the time that happened in the game, you could say her win was better than some of the other comeback wins we’ve seen in the past – with the most notably being Jenna Morasca, Chris Daugherty and Danni Boatwright.
Skupin was an interesting one. He played a very “behind the scenes” game for a long time early on. I think he made a few bad decisions that could have cost him the game, however, all in all, I think he’s done reasonably well considering he hasn’t played in twenty-two seasons. Lisa… I couldn’t stand. She was just another Holly Hoffman/Dawn Meehan. I don’t have anything against those two women, I just can’t stand the way they played; if you sign up to play Survivor, you put up and shut up, don’t go crying about hard it is to vote people out.
I wasn’t disappointed by my man Penner. He plays a masterful game and is easily one of the smartest to ever play. He let himself down when he failed to make a Final Four deal though. I have no doubt that everyday that goes by he regrets that decision more and more.
As for the others, I was surprised by what both Angie and Katie offered. Whilst not the best in challenges, they did do their best to “play” the game instead of getting taking along for the ride as a goat.
Russell Swan was a huge disappointment and not just because he sucked. In Samoa, he got the “nice guy” edit. Whether that was because he was med-evaced, I don’t know; but after watching him this season, he’d changed a lot.
I had mixed emotions about Jeff Kent. I think I liked him for several episodes around the time Dawson and Katie where sent home. His one-dimensional, get rid of the “vets” game was almost as bad as Sugar’s “I want Randy out” game in Gabon.
Pete got screwed over big time by aligning with Abi. I think the whole issue between his alliance and R.C. gave him a negative aura which I don’t think he completely deserved. As for Abi… well, she’s Abi and I except to see her back again in the future because she created plenty of drama.
One person I was completely disappointed with was Artis. Pre-game I thought he was great, a true fan, cancer survivor… but we got very little. Watching Ponderosa, he seems like a really great character so I’m pretty annoyed we didn’t get to see much of him.
C…a…r…t…e…r… spoke… really… slowly… and was basically just like Fabio. He played the nice guy game, didn’t cause much drama but had to go because he was too nice. As the season went on, I began to like R.C. less and less because she was so bitter. I can understand that you’d be annoyed, but from someone who has been a fan of the show, I thought her attitude; especially at the Reunion, was a disgrace.
As for Zane, Roxy, Dawson and Dana… none of them did much for me. I think Dawson has a lot of fans more for kissing Probst than for her game play.
As for the Finale, the Reward Challenge and “prize” on day thirty-seven was a joke. Easily one of the worst twists I’ve seen in a while. The Final Immunity Challenge is “sacred,” so there’s no reason to go giving advantages to people. Imagine if Malcolm had won the challenge, how cheated would the other three feel? I hope we never see that return again.
As for the challenge itself… it was good the first time and I wouldn’t have minded seeing it again but NOT for the Final Immunity Challenge. Since they have moved away from the traditional ‘stand here and hold the Immunity Idol’ challenges, every Final Immunity Challenge has been different, so to have a repeat of one of them… it lost the “special” feel that Final Challenges usually have. One thing is for sure though, Malcolm choked.
I don’t believe for a moment that the Jury wouldn’t have voted for Malcolm. I think he played a much better game that Denise because he had a bigger target on his back. I would have loved to have seen Denise and Malcolm stick together and force a tie at the Tribal Council on night thirty-eight. In saying that, Denise played the game and turned on her alley in order to win, so I have a lot of respect for her.
The Final Tribal was great, one of the best for a while. As a Penner fan I loved his Jury speech and don’t believe it changed the game dramatically, I honestly never saw Lisa winning. I though Jeff and Pete were good; and Abi really surprised me with her attitude and then her ability to vote for Denise despite the latter speaking out about her negatively during the game. As for Malcolm, I can understand why he was pissed and have no hesitation in saying that he was allowed to be.
The Reunion was really good. I love it when you get to hear from everyone and this season that happened. I can’t believe Lisa won fan favourite, she must have rigged it somehow because that’s the second time Malcolm was robbed! As for Dawson planting her “big wet one” on Probst, well… I think she needs to take a leaf out of Abi’s book and grow up a bit – although I suspect that might have been planned.
Well there we have it folks, another season in the books. The countdown now begins for Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favourites, (although can it really be classified as a “favourites” season without Parvati?).
I’ll see you back here next season!
Survivor Re-capper: Erik Reichenbach
Each week we’ll bring you the viewpoint of a former Survivor contestant to hear what they have to think of the episode and their thoughts for the rest of the season!
Our fourteenth guest is Erik Reichenbach from Micronesia, as he discusses his overall opinion of the season, Denise’s win and liking Lisa, whether or not Malcolm deserved to win, the final jury performance of the final 3, his disappointment at there not being a final 3, who would’ve been the ‘punching bag’ if there was a final 3 on his season instead of a final 2, his thoughts on that kiss from Dawson as well as his thoughts on the next season and bringing in his girlfriend Dana for some new thoughts and letting us knew which Philippines contestant has messaged him trying to be friends and he has ignored them! Erik concluded the season with some special answers:
BEST PLAYER OF THE SEASON: Penner
WORST PLAYER OF THE SEASON: Abi
MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER: Dana
MOST OVERRATED PLAYER: Malcolm
PLAYER YOU MOST WANT TO SEE RETURN: Pete
PLAYER WHO GOT THE MOST SCREWED: Angie
’PURPLE KELLY’ OF THE SEASON: Artis
WHERE WOULD YOU RANK THE SEASON OVERALL: 8-10th
FAN FAVOURITE: Malcolm/Penner
CONTESTANT MOST SIMILAR TO: Carter
It has been an incredible season and we thank every one of our re-cappers for joining us this season! We look forward to bringing you more recaps during Season 26! Remember you can check out our player report card for this season here.