The most current season of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur came to a close last night as the 28th Sole Survivor was crowned! After an entertaining finale, it’s time to recap it! Joining us, we have our new resident recap expert, Clifton, plus Ben and the Ozlets chime in with their thoughts as well! Oh, and we’ll even speak to some real experts in our good friends Brian Heidik, Clay Jordan, Helen Glover, and Tanya Vance from Thailand, who have reunited for the first time in over a decade here on Survivor Oz!
(If you haven’t watched the finale yet, clicking the link below will spoil the hell out of it, so if you don’t want to be spoiled then don’t click the link!)
LIVE FINALE EVENT
Jeff begins the show by explaining the format of the evening, which includes the two-hour finale and the live reunion show. He encourages the viewers to use Twitter to comment on the show and send him messages. He reminds us that Keith, Jaclyn, Baylor, Missy, and Natalie are the only contestants are remaining. He says that he will be watching with 500 of his closest friends who love Survivor!
Jeff welcomes the viewers to the season finale event. (Image credit: CBS)
THIS SEASON ON… SURVIVOR
Thirty-five days ago, nine pairs of loved ones were dropped in the jungles of Nicaragua to begin the adventure of a lifetime together. They were quickly pulled apart and forced to battle against each other for reward. The losers were sent to Exile Island. At Coyopa, former professional baseball player, John Rocker, was hiding from his past, where he was known publicly as a bigot. The one thing Coyopa had in common was that they couldn’t win a challenge, and, when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, they hit rock bottom. For Hunahpu, winning was the only thing they could do right. They argued. They wasted their food. They lost their flint. Eventually they lost their entire camp in exchange for more food. For this season’s castaways, the only thing more difficult than surviving was playing with their loved ones. One-by-one, loved ones were ripped from the game, but when the tribes merged multiple couples had survived. None were more powerful than “All-American couple” Jon and Jaclyn, who repeatedly found themselves in the middle. They led the charge in taking out the game’s biggest threats in a very unpredictable season. Idols destroyed plans. Big moved flipped the game. There were bad breaks, big fights, and some very odd moments. After thirty-five days, six players remain. At the last Tribal Council, it appeared Keith was on the bottom with the power couple sitting pretty. In the game of Survivor, when you get comfortable, you get blindsided. Jon was voted out with an idol in his pocket, and Jaclyn was left all alone.
Five are left. Missy and Baylor are the only pair of loved ones remaining. No strangers to adversity, they have stuck together through Missy’s many divorces. Now they are days away from their dreams becoming a reality. After Natalie’s twin sister, Nadiya, was the first one voted out, she was forced to rely on herself. Her sister’s exit gave her the motivation that she needed to make big moves in the game. Jaclyn dominated the game with her boyfriend, Jon, but now she’s left alone to fend for herself. She won’t go down without a fight. Keith came into the game as an underdog, but after thirty-five days he has outlasted his son, won many Immunity Challenges, and is determined to beat the odds. It all concludes tonight. Who will win the million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor?
The tribe returns to camp after Tribal Council with Missy riding on Natalie’s back. Jaclyn congratulates her tribe on the move that they made, voting out Jon. She tells them that their acting was good. Missy says that she is loyal to a fault in her real life. Jaclyn says that Jon is too. Natalie chimes in “No, not really”. Jaclyn immediately explodes on Natalie, saying that Natalie doesn’t know Jon. Natalie says that she knows Jon “in this game”, which Jaclyn says is not what she was talking about, she was talking about real life. Natalie says that that wasn’t what she was talking about. Jaclyn cries as she recounts the events in her confessional the next day. Since the merge, she felt like she and Jon were loved. She is not used to seeing people say bad things about Jon in real life. She snapped. Natalie confesses that it is good that Jaclyn had a fit in front of everybody. Now no one will want to work with her. It does scare her, however, that her game relies on trusting Baylor and Missy. They could vote her out. Survivor is a lot of work, and she’ll have to put in the work to win the game.
Jaclyn snaps at Natalie for implying that she knows the real Jon. (Image credit: CBS)
The next morning, Baylor tells her Mom how cool it is that there is a chance for them to make it to the Top 3 together. Missy tells her daughter that they need to focus on winning. Baylor confesses that she can “see” the Final Three. She still wants to go with her Mom and Natalie. Missy confesses that they have to chances at a million dollars, but she doesn’t feel confident about the challenges given the condition of her foot. The game plan is for Natalie and Baylor to crush in the challenges. The last thing they want is for Keith or Jaclyn to go on a run.
Missy and Baylor discuss their end-game. (Image credit: CBS)
The tribe arrives at the challenge and they immediately find that Missy will be unable to participate given the level of physical activity which the challenge requires. For the challenge, contestants will be attached to the rope. They will have to unspool the rope from an obstacle in the same fashion as the first Hero Arena challenge of the season. They will then have to construct a bridge using wooden rungs. Once the bridge is complete, they will use sandbags to knock down a series of blocks. First person to finish wins an advantage in the next Immunity Challenge.
The Final Five arrive at the Final Reward Challenge. (Image credit: CBS)
The challenge begins and each contestants starts unspooling their ropes by navigating over and under the beams of their obstacle. Keith is the first one to head out and start working on his bridge, but Natalie follows shortly after. Baylor joins them, while Jaclyn continues to struggle with her tangled rope. Natalie and Keith are side by side as they reach the halfway point on their bridge. The more wooden rungs the contestants carry, the less trips they have to take. Keith takes advantage of this and is able to complete his bridge while Natalie returns to collect her final pieces. Keith begins untying his sandbags and tossing them at the blocks. With his first hit he takes out over half of the blocks. Natalie catches up and begins tossing bags too, but at this point Keith only has three blocks left and is able to knock them off before Natalie can catch up. Keith wins reward. The women are not pleased. Keith is sore and exhausted from the challenge but elated to have won. Jeff gives him a message which he is told to read in private. Jeff then reveals that Keith gets to send someone to Exile Island. Keith says that he can’t send Missy, who is the only one who hasn’t gone, so he will send Jaclyn. Jaclyn smiles and departs. The rest of the tribe heads back to camp. Natalie confesses that she needs to beat him at the next challenge even with Keith having the advantage. For her plan to work, she needs to get rid of Keith first.
Keith tosses a sandbag at his last block. (Image credit: CBS)
LIVE FINALE EVENT
We cut to Jeff at the live finale event. He says that he is often asked how much food the contestants live on. He says that normally you would get half a cup of cooked rice – about 100 calories. Sometimes you catch small fish. Sometimes you get rewards, but they go through you quickly. He then gives a visual comparison of that small bowl of rice in comparison to the amount of food that a “normal American” would eat – about 2500 calories. He says, “this show will kick your ass”. He then enters the audience and addresses a small girl who says her name is Olivia Feldman. She says that she might be interested in trying Survivor in a long time. Jeff gives her the bowl of rice and says that that’s all she gets for the rest of the night. Then he says that she will make him eat that rice himself.
Jeff thinks this is how much the average person eats in a day. (Image credit: CBS)
Jaclyn arrives on Exile Island and find the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. She says that it is the same clue that everybody else got, and she discards the clue. She confesses that it is either going to be her or Keith to go at the next Tribal Council. She begins to cry, saying that the game makes her emotional. This is only one night in the scheme of things. She is fighting to get money so that she can have kids with Jon. He would tell her to “rock it out” and she’s going to do that.
Jaclyn’s shows her emotions at Exile Island. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, the women congratulate Keith on his win. Baylor confesses that it is frustrating that Keith won because he is the biggest challenge threat. Natalie, Missy, and Baylor discuss their options. If Keith doesn’t win they will send him home immediately. Keith sneaks off to read the message that he received from Jeff for winning the challenge. It reveals that there is a practice station that has been set up near their camp. Keith will be permitted to use the practice table to prepare for the next Immunity Challenge. He can use the table for as long as he likes, but, as soon as he leaves the table, he cannot come back. He finds the station, which reveals the nature of the next challenge. The contestants will use paddles to navigate balls through a series of complicated obstacles. They will have to work three balls through the obstacles in order to win Immunity. Keith begins practicing and seems to practice for a long time without making any discernible progress. He comments that he will practice until dark.
Keith practices for the Final Immunity Challenge as his reward. (Image credit: CBS)
The next morning, Natalie discusses Baylor’s desire to go to the Final Three with her mother. That is still the plan. IN her confessional, Natalie reveals that she thinks that she may have to team up with Keith and Jaclyn in order to turn to tables on Missy and Baylor. She has an idol for herself if she doesn’t win Immunity, but she needs to win to just try to keep Keith from winning.
Natalie and Baylor agree that they have to beat Keith. (Image credit: CBS)
They enter the challenge arena and find the challenge tables that Keith had an opportunity to practice with. Jaclyn returns to the tribe from Exile Island. She seems to be in high spirits to be returning to her tribe. She says that it was a terrible time to be away from camp. Missy says that, given the nature of the challenge, she will be able to compete. Jeff takes back the immunity necklace from Natalie, and then explains the challenge to the women. The challenge begins, and everyone struggles initially as they get their bearings. Baylor and Missy make it to the first obstacle, keeping steady. Keith struggles to do the same, dropping repeatedly. Jeff questions whether Keith’s advantage helped. Missy drops. Baylor drops. Suddenly, Keith finds his groove and begins making a lot of progress. He works his first ball through the final obstacle and scores his first point. The women cannot do the same, continuing to struggle on the first half of the challenge. Natalie and Jaclyn make almost no progress whatsoever. Jaclyn attempts to watch Keith’s method. All the while, Keith works his second ball through the obstacles and scores his second point. Keith moves on to his final ball and works it through the obstacles with apparent ease, while the women begin to panic. As he works the last ball through the final obstacle, each of the women stop and watch him. He successfully places the ball and wins Immunity. Once again, the women are clearly not happy. They depart and head back to camp.
Keith wins the Final Five Immunity Challenge. (Image credit: CBS)
LIVE FINALE EVENT
We then cut to Jeff at the live finale event, who comments that Keith is on a roll. He introduces us to a young boy named Austin, who he explains they met through the Make a Wish Foundation. His dream was to visit the location and pitch a challenge that could be on the show. Jeff comments that he himself has never gotten a challenge on the show. Austin flew out to set with his family and got to visit all the critical places. He then got to pitch his challenge to John Kirhoffer, the Surprising Producer responsible for every challenge that has ever been on the show. Austin explains that that it was a great moment that he will always remember. Jeff explain, after the pitch, John Kirhoffer said that the challenge could probably be on the show. It was. Austin’s challenge was the Reward Challenge from Episode 13, where Missy hurt her foot. Jeff tells him that he is so happy that Austin could be there and be at the finale. He then asks Austin how he could “wrap up the experience”? Austin says that he “just wanted to help the show… You’re welcome.” Everyone laughs. Jeff tells us that a big Tribal Council is coming up. One of the women is going home.
Jeff introduces us to Austin, a Make a Wish kid who pitched one of this season’s Reward Challenges. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, the tribe talks about the challenge they just participated in. Keith is surprised that no one else was able to get a single ball, but, then again, Keith is good with balls. Keith begins a confessional about returning to camp after the challenge but he has to stop and collect himself, commenting that “your mind goes”. He starts the confessional over, explaining that tonight won’t be hard. Jaclyn knows she is going to the jury. Natalie and Jaclyn then walk off. Keith asks Missy how Jaclyn is. Missy says that Jaclyn is ready to go and have her “nice bottle of wine”. Jaclyn tells Natalie that she is willing to vote either Missy or Baylor out. If they do, she won’t vote Natalie out the next day. Jaclyn says that she just wants to make it one more day. Natalie asks who they would get out. Jaclyn says that it should be Missy. Natalie explains that she feels very comfortable with Missy and Baylor, “but they are blood”. Baylor assures Natalie that everything is going as planned, and she asks Baylor to play her idol on Missy. Natalie says that that’s fine. In her confessional, Natalie reveals that she wishes her moves had been more impactful. It’s either making a big move today and getting rid of Baylor or Missy, or playing it safe to vote out Jaclyn. The only fear she has is that a big move could make her a big target at the next Tribal Council.
Baylor tells Natalie to play her idol on Missy. (Image credit: CBS)
Jeff welcomes in the Jury: Josh, Jeremy, Wes, Reed, Alec, and Jon. Jeff asks Jaclyn what it is like now that Jon is gone. She says that there is no one that she can trust 100%, but she doesn’t have to worry about anyone but herself. Keith explains that there was a fight among the women after the last Tribal Council, but that’s good for him. Jeff then asks Missy about idols. Missy says that she is confident about the idol situation because she knows who has it. Jeff asks Jaclyn what her take is on this comment. Jaclyn says that she didn’t know there was an idol. Keith says he didn’t know either. Jaclyn says that it must be Natalie, Baylor, or Missy who has it, and that makes things worse for her. Jeff then asks Missy and Baylor if being together is a liability. Missy says that they are probably in a danger zone, but she has faith in her “alignment”. Natalie says that is was hard after the challenge to figure out what was going to happen, since Keith was the target. Jaclyn says that Keith winning put her in danger, and she had to approach Natalie to help her. Missy says that she doesn’t think that there are cracks. She respects Jaclyn for trying, but sometimes you have to recognize that it’s your time. They vote.
The Final Five are about to become the Final Four. (Image credit: CBS)
Baylor votes for Jaclyn, saying that she had fun playing with her and that she hopes she doesn’t take the vote personally. Jaclyn’s vote is hidden, but we hear her confess that Natalie told her to vote the way she did. She has to trust Natalie. Jeff retrieves the votes. Natalie plays her idol, saying that it is always more fun to play it for somebody else. Before handing the idol to Jeff, she turns to Jaclyn and asks Jaclyn if she voted the way that Natalie had told her too. Jaclyn quickly nods. Jon gasps. Natalie hands Jeff the idol and says that she is playing it for Jaclyn. Baylor gasps. The jury members smile broadly while Jon fist pumps the air, saying that “I knew I liked her!” Missy turns to Baylor and quietly says, “I’m going home.” They tell each other that they love each other. Jaclyn hugs Natalie. Jeff reveals the votes. “Jaclyn – does not count”. The jury is exuberant. “Jaclyn – does not count”. “Jaclyn – does not count”. “Baylor”. Missy and Baylor’s faces drop. “Baylor”. Missy and Baylor hug. Baylor takes her torch to Jeff who snuffs it out. Baylor departs, becoming the seventh member of the Jury. Missy gives Natalie a long look before Jeff pipes in that tomorrow will be their Final Immunity Challenge. Baylor confesses that she feels surprised, but she’s not mad at Natalie. It was a good move.
In a shocking twist, Natalie plays her idol for Jaclyn and sends Baylor to Ponderosa. (Image credit: CBS)
LIVE FINALE EVENT
We cut back to Jeff at the live finale event, where he calls Natalie’s move one of the biggest of the season. He then turns his mic to a group of nine people who all say, in sequence, that they have never missed an episode. Jeff comments that people who have watched every episode have committed over 400 hours to the show in the fifteen years since it has been on. He asks the various people about who they watch they show with. One couple say that they watch and re-watch the show. One man says that in college he skipped a date because it was Survivor night. Jeff high fives him. Jeff says that Natalie now has to go back to camp and deal with the fallout of her move.
Jeff high fives a man for skipping a date for Survivor. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, Natalie confesses that the decision for her was always between Baylor and Jaclyn. She felt like being the outsider with a blood pair was too dangerous of a situation. By making this move, Keith will still be the main threat in the game and she has a better chance of going to the Final Three. In addition, Missy’s case is a lot weaker without Baylor with her at the Final 3. Natalie approaches Missy and asks if she is mad at her. Missy says that she is not mad. It would have made her nervous if Natalie had been there with her sister. In her confessional, Missy explains that things did not go as she planned. It’s a game – she’s okay with it. She’ll never have to write her daughter’s name down on a voting ballot. Missy tells Natalie that she has been more open with Missy than anyone else in the game, but Missy tells us that she feels vulnerable now since she cannot compete in the challenges. Jaclyn approaches Natalie and thanks her for saving her. Natalie tells her that they have to beat Keith at the next challenge. Natalie tells her that she wants to go to the Final 3 with Jaclyn and Missy. “Keith is scary”.
Natalie asks Missy if she is mad at her for voting out Baylor. (Image credit: CBS)
FINAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE
The Final Four enter the challenge arena and it becomes instantly clear that Missy will not be competing in the Final Immunity Challenge as it involves a number of stairs. For the challenge, contestants will race down a giant tower, manoeuvre a series of obstacles, and collect bags of puzzle pieces. After collecting the first three bags, they must return the bags to the top of the tower. Then they must go back down the tower and collect the final two bags. After once again returning to the top of the tower, they must open the bags and use the puzzle pieces to complete a large puzzle of the season logo. Once the puzzle is complete there will be three pieces missing with distinct shapes. The contestant must then race back down the tower and evaluate a grid of numbers, each within a shape. They must pick the numbers which match the missing shapes in the puzzle and then use those numbers to solve a combination lock back at the top of the tower. First person to do so, wins Immunity and is guaranteed a spot in the Final 3 and a chance to plead their case to the Jury.
The Final Immunity Challenge of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur. (Image credit: CBS)
The challenge begins. Natalie and Keith take an early lead and are the first to get a bag of puzzle pieces. The wind is violent during the challenge, blowing wildly. Keith takes the lead over Natalie during the second obstacle. Keith gets to his third and begins to ascend the 57 steps to the top of the tower. Natalie catches up to Keith and passes him on the stairs. They are side by side on the way back down. Jaclyn makes it to the top while the other two begin collecting their fourth bags. Missy gives Jaclyn encouragement and tells her to be careful descending the tower. Keith and Natalie each move onto their final bag, still neck-in-neck. Natalie takes a slight lead on the return from the bag and starts heading up the stairs. She makes it to the top and starts working on her puzzle before Keith starts his climb.As Keith begins untiring his bags, Jaclyn makes it to the top of the tower with her fifth bag. All three members work furiously on their puzzle, Jaclyn checking her chest to compare the logo on her buff with the puzzle. Natalie maintains a slight lead over Keith, but then Keith pulls ahead. Jaclyn begins to speed up and manages to take the lead. Jeff comments that he had written her off. She finishes her puzzle and starts descending the tower. She takes a hard fall on the fireman pole portion and has to take a moment to collect herself. Jeff runs down to make sure that she is okay. She says that she is and continues down the tower. Natalie then finishes her puzzle. Keith has fallen completely out of it. Natalie heads down the tower. Both women stare at their number grid, checking and double checking. Jaclyn begins to head back up the stairs. She enters the combination and Natalie begins to run up the stairs. It’s too late. Jaclyn is correct, and she wins Immunity. Missy and Natalie are ecstatic and big Jaclyn a huge hug. Jeff puts the Immunity necklace around her neck. They head back to camp. Keith confesses that he sees no reason why Jaclyn should get rid of Natalie. He’s in trouble. Big trouble.
Jaclyn completes her combination to win the Final Immunity Challenge. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, Jaclyn confesses that Jon is going to “die” when he sees her with the Immunity necklace. She has a huge decision of who to take with the Final Three. She wants to be able to talk everything out – that’s how she did it with Jon. It either going to be a million dollar decision or a million dollar mistake. Keith approaches Jaclyn and tells her he thinks that Missy is going to get some sympathy votes as well as Baylor’s vote. It would be smarter to take Keith with her. He tells her to think about it and departs. Jaclyn turns to Natalie and tells her that it’s obviously the two of them. They need to talk. Natalie confesses that she hopes Jaclyn’s power trip doesn’t go to her head. Natalie says that she would be happy to vote Missy out, but she feels like Keith is scarier. Jaclyn says that it will be Keith unless something crazy goes on in her head in the next four hours.
Natalie and Jaclyn discuss who Jaclyn should take to the Final Three. (Image credit: CBS)
Jaclyn then approaches Missy and asks her if she would be willing to vote out Natalie. Missy says that it is a toss up between Keith and Natalie. Jaclyn says that she feels like Natalie has the strongest gameplay out of the four of them, but Natalie also saved Jaclyn. Then again, Natalie coordinated all of the big moves that broke up the alliance of five. She made a big statement. Missy tells Jaclyn to trust her gut, confessing to us that she wants Natalie to go for voting out her kid. Jaclyn says that her gut is telling her Keith is a threat because of the “guy” dominance on the Jury, but her guy also says that Natalie could beat her because of her gameplay. Missy asks Jaclyn what Jon would say. Jaclyn says that he would say to vote Natalie off. Missy smiles.
Jaclyn asks Missy if she would vote out Natalie. Missy would. (Image credit: CBS)
The Final Four arrive at Tribal Council. Jeff welcomes in the Jury: Josh, Jeremy, Wes, Reed, Alec, Jon, and Baylor. Baylor and her mother exchange a smile. Jon smiles to see Jaclyn with the Immunity necklace. Jeff asks Jaclyn about the challenge. Jaclyn says that it feels amazing to know she will be there on Day 39, but now it’s hard because she’s in the middle and has a big decision to make. Jeff asks Natalie if she expects Jaclyn to reciprocate for the move she made at the last Tribal Council. Natalie says that it would be a nice gesture, but she is not expecting it back. Jaclyn says that Natalie’s blindside of Jon left a sour taste in her mouth, so she doesn’t really feel like she owes Natalie. Natalie says that the reason to get rid of Keith is that he is charismatic and everybody loves him. Keith says that he likes that. Keith says that it would make sense to get rid of Natalie because of the votes she has on the Jury. She’s played the game “real good”. Jeff asks Natalie if she thinks that she thinks she can win. Natalie says that she does think she can. She made risky decisions and kicked ass in challenges. She’s happy with the way that she played. They vote, but no votes are seen and no confessionals are heard. Jeff retrieves the votes and reveals them: Keith, Missy, Keith, Keith. Keith brings his torch to Jeff who snuffs it out, making Keith the eighth and final member of the Jury. Missy, Natalie, and Jaclyn are the San Juan Del Sur Final Three. They smile broadly. Jon and Baylor fist bump. Jeff tells them that they will reconvene tomorrow night for the Final Tribal Council. They depart. Keith says he has no hard feelings. He loves them all.
Keith is voted out, becoming the eighth and final member of the Jury. (Image credit: CBS)
LIVE FINALE EVENT
We return to Jeff at the live finale event, commenting on how much people enjoyed watching Keith learn the game. Jeff then shows us a clip from “fifteen seconds” after Keith was voted out, where Jeff catches up to Keith on the walk of shame in the jungle. Keith says that if you had asked his friends if Keith would be “coming back from the moon” or “sitting in a spa in Nicaragua” they would think he was coming back from the moon. Jeff then introduces us to Keith’s wife of twenty-five years, Dana Nale. Jeff asks if Keith did anything to embarrass her. She comments that Keith was out of line to tell Missy how to raise her child. Jeff says that Missy did a good job of reminding people that herself. She the tells us that Keith’s incessant spitting is typical for Keith. Jeff tells us that the next time we see him, he will have the votes.
Jeff speaks to Dana Nale, Keith’s wife. (Image credit: CBS)
The sun rises on Day 39, and the women celebrate making it to the final day of the game. Women were in the minority from the onset of the game, but now the Final Three consists of three women. Seven of the eight Jury members are men, but Missy explains that she is not intimidated by men. It will be important for her to present herself well. No matter how it ends, she has the power to be positive about it. Jaclyn and Natalie find the Day 39 feast waiting for them at tree mail, incurring shrieks of joy. Natalie confesses that she is proud to have been able to complete this game on her own. She knows that her parents will be proud too, since they don’t think they can do anything without the other. She needs to figure out what she wants to say to the Jury. She can’t leave it up to fate, she has to do the Jury’s job for them. She can’t have any regrets. Jaclyn jokes that is excited that she will be able to rub it in Jon’s face that she made it to the final feast and he didn’t. Jaclyn confesses that she feels like she was underestimated from the beginning. This is Blood vs Water; it’s about family and relationships… and that’s what she wants. She can’t give Jon the family he wants without the money because of her syndrome. This money means more to her than it would mean to someone else. The title of Sole Survivor would mean more to her than the money, because it would even further inspire all the other girls with MRKH. There are ways. Never give up. This experience allowed her to appreciate how strong she really is. She’s been fighting for 39 days, but tonight is the big one.
The final three enjoy the Day 39 breakfast feast. (Image credit: CBS)
FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL
The full Jury enters: Josh, Jeremy, Wes, Reed, Alec, Jon, Baylor, and Keith. Jeff welcomes the Final Three to the Final Tribal Council, explaining that now the power has shifted to the Jury. They will decide who wins this game. Each contestant will have a chance to give an opening statement, the Jury will have a chance to address the Final Three, and then the Jury will vote. Missy begins by saying that the roles could easily be reversed. The Jury has a big decision. What they decide will affect the rest of her life. Her deal is loyalty. If someone didn’t trust her, they had to go. The hardest thing she had to do was vote Jon out. Despite breaking her foot, she brought her team to victory. She’s played consistently with integrity, dignity, and loyalty. She deserves to be the Sole Survivor. Jaclyn states that she deserves the win because she went through many ups and down, just like in real life. She started in a bad position on Coyopa, but she kept fighting. When she met up with Jon, she was in the pivotal middle position for most of the game. Her moves are the reason why everyone is sitting where they are. When Jon got voted out, she had to take the reins. She has felt depression due to her syndrome and alone, but she’s had to find strength, and she found that strength in this game. That’s why she should be the Sole Survivor. Natalie also thinks that she should be the Sole Survivor, saying that she Outwit, Outplayed, and Outlasted better than the other two finalist. Outwit: She made smart, risky, and scary moves by herself. Outplay: She represented well in challenges, volunteered for Exile twice, and carried her weight at camp. Outlast: Nadiya was voted out first, which forced her to kick her game into high gear and play with a purpose. She is honoured to be pleading her case because, if they had made the right decision, Natalie would have been voted out at the last Tribal Council instead of Keith.
The Final Three each explain why they deserve to win in their opening statements. (Image credit: CBS)
Now, the Jury is able to address the Final Three. First up is Jon. He addresses Jaclyn, saying that he wants to give her the opportunity to explain a big move that was solely her decision. How did it affect the Final Three. She says that it would be the vote against Josh. She felt that if she went with Josh, Wes, and Alec, she would be on the bottom with them, just like she was at Coyopa. When Reed approached her, she told him that he would be okay, but she ended up voting out his loved one. If she hadn’t made that move, she doesn’t think she would have been sitting in the Final Three. Jon wishes her luck and takes his seat. Keith is up next. He asks Nat how it feels that the last words she spoke to him were a lie. She explains that it was “you or me”. The only way she could survive is if she sold him as the biggest threat. Keith says he hated the constant lying. He went through half the game without lying. He doesn’t know what to say. Alec is next. He asks Natalie what her biggest one move was. She says that it was voting out him. He laughs and says that he knew it. She explains that she could work with Keith but not with him. Voting out Alec allowed Natalie to make moves to turn the pairs in her alliance into singles. Jon, Baylor, and Missy all smile and nod, recognizing how well Natalie played them. Alec then addresses Missy, calling her “momma”. He asks her what was so motherly about the way she played. She says that she centred herself in the mom position in the disfunction Hunahpu family. From that center position she could get people to vote out the people who didn’t trust her, starting with his brother, Drew. She directed her people.
Alec asks the tough questions. (Image credit: CBS)
Baylor is up next. She says that she is so happy for them and so happy to see three women in the Final Three. She then addresses her mother, saying that it is so much more than a game for them. They’ve been through the “ringer” together in real life and in the game. They’ve always been on “one foot”, hobbling through “marriages”. Making it to the Final Three on one foot is the most incredible thing that Baylor has seen her mother do. Missy says that it’s the best hug she’s ever had. Josh is next, beginning by saying that he wishes he could be sitting in their place. He asks Jaclyn if she thinks the reason she is there is the strength of her own merit… or is she there on the strengths of others. Jaclyn shuts this down, saying that she and Jon spent hours discussing every part of the decisions that they made. Jon did not carry her. Josh then asks her for one move that was solely her move. Jaclyn reiterates that voting “YOU” out was her move and her idea. She and Jon exchange a smile. Wes is up next, saying that he had a great experience being able to play with his father. What was it like being able to play with your loved ones? Missy says it was a dream come true, and that she adored his dad. He was the shoulder that carried her. Jaclyn says that playing with a boyfriend is different than other relationships but its been a great experience and a learning lesson for communication. Natalie says that it’s been hard to be without Nadiya for the entire game. The fact that she did it alone, without Nadiya, makes her proud of herself. If Nadiya was the first to go, Natalie would have to win.
Josh passive aggressively berates Jaclyn with a smile. (Image credit: CBS)
Jeremy is next. He says that he is a student of the game and he likes it when people make big moves. He says that the game could have gone bad, but the best player is going to win. He thought it might have been him, but it wasn’t. “Clearly, it’s Natalie. Give her her credit. Don’t be mad… I don’t need a back and forth… I’m happy for you all.” He sits back down. Reed is the final Jury member to address the Final Three. He begins by telling Natalie that loved watching Natalie’s game. He congratulates her on a great game. He then tells Jaclyn that he really enjoyed getting to know her. He really wished that he had been able to play the game with her more. He looks forward to hanging out with her afterwards. He turns to Missy last and begins to berate her for the role she played in the game, calling her the “Wicked Step Mother”. He accuses her of making demands for things to which she feels entitled, spoiling her literal and figurative children, taking the best place in the shelter, getting more “gimme’s” in the game than anyone, performing the worst of anyone at the challenges, and abusing the minority alliances by making sure that they feel inferior and like the “help”. “That” to him feels like her fatal flaw in her whole plan, because, unlike life, the outcasts get the final say. The people she was so rude too will decide her fate. “This is why I love fairly tales, because they always have a happy ending and the wicked stepmother never wins”. Baylor begins to cry from the Jury bench. Missy tells Baylor not to worry about it. Baylor says she just needs a minute to breathe. Jeff says that this is what comes with being in the Final Three. They vote.
Baylor cries after Reed’s comments towards her mother. (Image credit: CBS)
Jon votes for Jaclyn, saying that he is so proud to be able to write her name down. Jeremy votes for Natalie, saying that she did her thing. Reed voted for Jaclyn, but no confessional is given. Baylor votes for Missy, saying that she played the best game no matter what anybody says. Jeff retrieves the votes. He thanks them for another fun reason of Survivor and explains that they will be read when they get back to the United States. He departs.
Jeff departs the Tribal Council set in Nicaragua after the Final Vote. (Image credit: CBS)
LIVE FINALE EVENT
We cut back to the live finale event, where Jeff emerges onto the stage with the urn full of the Jury’s votes. The Final Three and the Jury are already on stage waiting for him. Jeff says that it has been a fun night. He wishes everybody at home could experience the energy. He applauds them for the “girl power” of getting three women from the minority to the Final Three. He reiterates that the Jury was tough, particularly Reed. “Well delivered, but that was rough”. He explains again that the votes tonight are for a winner. He reveals the votes: Jaclyn. Natalie. Jaclyn. Missy. Natalie. Natalie. The winner of San Juan Del Sur is Natalie. Natalie hugs Missy before reuniting with her sister. They run off the stage to their family and hug their parents. Jeff reminds us that Natalie played without a loved one longer than anyone else. It was an unpredictable season!
Natalie and Nadiya hug their parents after Natalie is named the Sole Survivor. (Image credit: CBS)
Next season was also announced, with another season with all new players being filmed in the same location called Worlds Apart – White Collar vs Blue Collar vs No Collar! It features players on three different tribes from three different walks of life! Check out the logo below! Bring it on!
SURVIVOR OZ SWEEP
Well another season of Survivor has come to a close and we have our 28th different winner in the history of the show! Natalie Anderson! The first Asian-American woman to win the show, the second Natalie to win the show and the 12th female to win! And certainly a fan favourite! I’ll admit that I wasn’t rooting for her to win in this finale (go team Jaclyn) but in the end she proved herself to be the best player and deserved the prize. Having said that, she won’t go down as the best winner in the history of the show by far, but on a season with fairly average game players, she stood out from the rest. So well done to her.
The finale was pretty decent. An amazing blindside by seeing Natalie give the idol to Jaclyn was one big shock. And we had a bit of a lead in suggesting that Natalie could be blindsided just before the FTC. But in the end from that point on it went pretty to script, and Natalie took home the prize. I want to give props to Jaclyn for a great game that I feel went very underrated. I think she definitely owned up to her game and her moves at the FTC and deservingly took home second spot. I think she deserved more than 2 votes, but she’ll still be happy with the runner-up placing. Was Missy unfairly treated? Maybe a bit. I don’t think she really did anything too badly. However I should point out that Reed’s speech was up there as one of the best since Sue Hawk back on season one. So props to him for that great moment!
So it’s time to reflect on season 29 and look ahead to season 30. I want to first of all say that this season has been fantastic, and I think that in a few years time people will look back at this season fondly and realise how good it actually is. Similar to a Thailand, Guatemala or Nicaragua. Think about everything we had. So many amazing moments, an entertaining cast and a fairly surprising winner if you were watching it from the half way point. Special props to the editors this season who gave some fantastic viewer blindsides and kept us all very excited along the way. I don’t care what most people are saying, this season is verging on the top 10 and I’m going to say it now: this season is better than Blood vs Water 1. Boom.
Season 30, Worlds Apart. Interesting concept. And one that I feel will be great. Very disappointing not to see an entire returning players season to celebrate 30 seasons and 15 years, but alas we get the first time since seasons 17-19 in which there are three consecutive new player seasons.
As I always say at the end of these recap parts: BRING IT ON! Thanks so much for everyone who has read and joined in with the conversation throughout our San Juan Del Sur coverage! It’s been a lot of fun covering it and we look forward to Worlds Apart!
Well another season down, and I have to say it was a pretty satisfying finale. There was quite a while where I thought Keith would steal the show and take it all the way to the end, and I think his biggest mistake was not talking to Jaclyn and convincing her that Natalie was the biggest threat to win.
There were also moments where I thought Jaclyn could inexplicably walk away with the million as her edit seemed to be building up towards something during the finale – alas, it was only a red herring and in the end Natalie won.
She has to join my ranks of favourite winners. Even though she didn’t have to play too hard in the beginning her strong social game made sure she was always someone that people wanted to work with. Also she never did anything to isolate herself from any of the alliances that had formed throughout the season. She also knew when to make a move, and even though they didn’t always go as well as expected and she wasn’t always in the loop (re: Jeremy vote off) it goes to show that moves are better than no moves, and it really counts to have something to tell the Jury. Missy’s attempt to try and convince she worthy of the win for being ‘at the centre’ of big moves was thin and feeble. Jaclyn also had a pretty lacklustre final tribal council performance, and I think focused too much on her diagnosis rather than her gameplay.
Reed’s epic Jury speech takedown was totally justified and accurate. It was the high point of a very lacklustre final tribal council and Baylor’s tears did nothing to help Missy’s cause. Jaclyn’s win during the final immunity challenge was also epic and a great change from the endurance challenges that we had seen all season. I think what made this an exciting finale was despite there it being the exact same formula as year before, there was a lot of suspense that Keith could sit in the final three which could have thrown a massive spanner in the works.
It’s easy to say with hindsight now, but I think Natalie was going to win against everyone in the final 5, but this is easy to make this point after hearing the Jury’s speeches and seeing the respect for her. Bring on the next season, despite all the criticism, San Juan Del Sur just makes it into my top 20 seasons which in my opinion means it’s far from being completely terrible as so many have claimed.
YAAAAAAAAAAS NATALIE! You did it, Twinnie!
This is why Survivor is still one of the most popular and intriguing shows on TV, even after 29 seasons. A pair of identical twins come on the show – one gets voted out first, one wins. It defies belief, but I guess so does this show making it to season 30. Full credit to Natalie for playing a really well measured and considered game. Jeff loves to talk about big moves winning the game, but ultimately, its doing the little things and building good social bonds that get you jury votes. I think Natalie is a great counterpoint to Tony from last season, with both players being skilled players and interesting to watch, but in really different ways. This season may have had its downsides, but it has finished with a flourish and produced a winner that I think will only become more appreciated in the fullness of time.
There was so much going on this episode and I am sure my illustrious Ozlet colleagues will more than cover all of this, so I just wanted to make a couple of my own observations:
The reward challenge- really? An extra challenge? I guess I am just not a part of the audience that loves to watch challenges, I find them a necessary evil and easily the least interesting part of any show. Finales are a bit different where immunity winners can have a major bearing on what happens, but we definitely didn’t need an extra reward challenge tonight. What was its purpose? Ultimately, I think you could have cut this challenge, and all the stuff of Keith practising, and it would not have been jarring or surprising that Keith won. Editors could have put more interesting camp life or strategy scenes, or, God forbid, the “fallen comrades” sequence that I actually like and think is an important part of wrapping up a season that is about everybody, not just the finalists.
Natalie’s idol play will be praised given the end result but it seemed a risk to far to me. Baylor was the ultimate jury goat, and taking her and Missy seemed an obvious play. I see the reasons for Natalie’s move though – mostly its a big flashy move in front of the jury to build your credentials for their eventual vote. It also gave her, in theory, more control the next day, especially if Keith did win the final challenge. As it turns out, Keith had no shot at that challenge and there is no way Missy and Baylor would have taken him to the end. So, yeah, it all worked out but things could easily have gone wrong with this move – it seemed to be unnecessary, but given the final outcome, I’m sure it will be lauded as great or forgotten entirely.
Natalie’s win also reinforces the point made clear by Tyson’s win. Playing BvW without your loved one still in the game makes things much easier. Many of these players made moves that were perhaps not in their best interests or got into fights not worth having because of a perceived need to protect their loved one. Natalie had no such problem and this made things simpler.
Can I talk about Missy for a while? The haters can move along now, because I am a big Missy fan and want to give her some credit, and no one else will be. She actually played a pretty decent game. Yeah, there were definitely mistakes but no player here played anywhere near a perfect game. Missy falls into the same category as so many other “older” women; they don’t have the physical strength and often are seen as coat tail riders. Missy had the added complication of Baylor being in the game, and her maternal instincts kicked in. This is a game fault perhaps, but its hard to blame her on a personal level for doing that. Ultimately I think she used what skills she had to the best possible effect. Hopefully in time she will get just a little more credit than she’s getting right now
Which brings me onto Reed. I’m sure lots of people loved this speech, but to me he just came off as self righteous and vindictive. I have liked Reed and Josh this season, and I totally get the frustration to want to tell Missy how you feel. But unlike other juror performances in a similar vein over the years (like Helen, Sue, Brenda or even Penner), this had no point. Missy wasn’t going to win and he knew it, and he had not been particularly betrayed by her. To me it was the same as following a slow driver all the way to the store, then getting out and yelling at them after they have parked for holding you up. It serves no purpose at all except to make you feel better personally. We all know his jury vote was simply to ensure Missy came third, and not second equal. Missy didn’t owe Reed anything, she didn’t break an alliance with him that I can see. Yeah, she was overly protective of Baylor and may have come off as “entitled” to him, and fair enough, let her know. Her punishment for that is that she wasn’t going to win. But he could have stopped at that point. I also think he didn’t need to apologise for his speech at the reunion, but the fact he couldn’t even say it was in the heat of the moment and maybe a bit too much speaks volumes about who he is. Reed just went down in my estimation, big time. For someone who speaks of his faith a lot, to take such pleasure in being nasty just for the sake of it means perhaps he doesn’t walk the talk quite how he thinks he does.
Survivor producers – please, please, please don’t bring Keith back. Yes, he has served his purpose and was amusing this season, but I am all Naled out. Keith is as close as we have got to a return to terrible “characters” who don’t really know the game and are just there for awkward or “funny” moments. He’s not quite Phillip or Tarzan level just yet, but lest try and focus on players who actually have some understanding of how to play the game. Keith, you’re in serious trouble at the final 4, and you target…Missy??? What the hell? Thanks for the memories and suggestions of “whooping” children, but its time for you to go.
And I’m not forgetting Jaclyn. I just literally have nothing to say about her.
Well, that’s about all I have. Really looking forward to season 30. Its a great new dynamic and kudos to the Survivor team for coming up with something so cool. I also can’t wait to meet the dude from the “no collar” tribe with the crazy hair – already getting Shane vibes there, and that has to be a good thing. And if it works out, maybe season 31 could do it again, with some priests invited along: “white collar vs blue collar vs no collar vs dog collar”.
Have a fun off season everyone – I’m gonna go watch Amazing Race to see if we can find anymore potentially good survivor players…that Keith and Whitney look quite promising….
SURVIVOR RE-CAPPERS: BRAIN HEIDIK, CLAY JORDAN, HELEN GLOVER, & TANYA VANCE
Each week this season we’ve brought you the viewpoint of former Survivor contestants to hear what they think of the episode and their thoughts for the rest of the season! Our recap for the finale episode features a mini Thailand reunion with Brain Heidik, Clay Jordan, Helen Glover, and Tanya Vance! Together they discuss everything that happened during this season as well as looking ahead to the next season, Survivor: Worlds Apart!’
|BEST PLAYER OF THE SEASON||Keith||Keith||Natalie||Natalie/Keith|
|WORST PLAYER OF THE SEASON||Julie||Julie||Josh||Nadiya|
|MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER||Rocker||Keith||Keith||Keith|
|MOST OVERRATED PLAYER||Jaclyn||Jaclyn||Baylor||Missy|
|PLAYER YOU MOST WANT TO SEE RETURN||Keith||Keith||Keith||Keith|
|PLAYER WHO GOT THE MOST SCREWED||Keith||Keith||Keith||Keith|
|’PURPLE KELLY’ OF THE SEASON||Dale||Dale||Dale||Dale|
|WHERE WOULD YOU RANK THE SEASON OVERALL||Middle||Bottom 10||Middle||Middle|
|CONTESTANT MOST SIMILAR TO||None||Keith||Keith||Keith|
Thanks to those of you who stuck with us through this whole season! Join us next season when we will be back to recap Survivor: Worlds Apart – White Collar vs Blue Collar vs No Collar!
ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE COPYRIGHT CBS. IF YOU WISH TO READ OUR DISCLAIMER IN REGARDS TO THE USE OF IMAGES PLEASE CLICK HERE