The thirty-second season of Survivor, Kaôh Rōng, draws to a close. After an entertaining finale, it’s time to recap it! Joining us, we have our recap expert, Clifton, plus Ben and the Ozlets chime in with their thoughts as well! Oh, and we'll even try something new as we invite a bunch of fans to share their opinions on the episode and season as a whole!
The finale broadcast begins with Jeff introducing the live event and giving us a peek into the green room where the contestants are socializing. Jeff reminds us that it was a hard season and tells us that the tickets to the live event are also hard to get, showing us an enthusiastic audience.
Jeff introduces the Live Finale Event. (Image credit: CBS)
PREVIOUSLY ON… SURVIVOR
When the season began, none of the contestants knew how hard the season would be. Heat stroke brought down one of the fiercest competitors, and there were numerous evacuations. Idols were also hard to get this season and dealing with their consequences once found would pose a challenge for everyone in the game. A season of big moves and colorful characters has lead to a Final 4 comprised on Cydney, Michele, Aubry, and Tai. Michele’s game has been built on loyalty, but she will have to get to the end on her own. Aubry lost her two biggest ally’s to medical evacuations and now she has to see if she has enough in the tank to make it to the end. Cydney has orchestrated numerous blindsides but she will have to navigate multiple alliances to keep herself from that same fate. Tai had spent most of the game in a power position due to his idol and his advantage, but now he is vulnerable and has no further protection. Who will be the Sole Survivor?
The Final 4. (Image credit: CBS)
The morning begins with Mark the chicken crowing everyone awake. Tai takes Mark and sits alone with him down the beach so that Mark will not disturb the others. He recognizes that people associate Mark with him. Once the sun comes up, Tai and Aubry agree that it makes sense for the two of them to stick together. Tai encourages Aubry to try and lock things up with Cydney. They agree that Michele is the biggest social threat in the game. “She hasn’t pissed off anyone on the jury.” Elsewhere, Michele and Cydney discuss what their best move it and agree that it is best for them to stick together. Cydney confesses that she likes her odds since everyone seems to want to take her to the end. Michele confesses that it is anyone’s game if they play their cards right.
Aubry and Tai lock up their allegiance. (Image credit: CBS)
For the challenge, each contestant must race under a net crawl, slide tiles across a table to hit a target, stack the stile on a machete and balance the machete as they traverse a balance beam and a teeter totter, and match pairs of tiles based on symbols painted on them. The three remaining tiles will be turned over to reveal numbers for a combination. First contestant to complete the combination gets a balanced nutritional meal designed to refuel their body for the end of the game. Aubry gets lead during the balance portion of the challenge and, despite having an incorrect pair of tiles for quite some time at the end, she is able discover the correct combination and win the challenge. Jeff tells her that she can pick one person or enjoy the reward alone. She selects Cydney to go with her.
Aubry wins the reward challenge. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, a table is waiting with Aubry and Cydney’s meal. Cydney confesses that Aubry picking her for the reward solidified the bond they have had all along. They agree that one of them has to win the next Immunity Challenge. At the campfire, Tai and Michele have a candid talk about the next vote. Michele tells Tai that whoever loses the challenge will be Aubry and Cydney’s target and they need to take control of their own games by targeting Aubry. Tai tells her that he is willing. He confesses that he is sticking with Aubry, but it is good to have options. He’ll betray Aubry if he has to in order to win the million dollars.
Michele tells Tai that they should target Aubry. (Image credit: CBS)
For the challenge, each contestant must race into the ocean and retrieve a key which they will use to unlock a set of stairs back on the beach. At the top of the stairs is a second key, which is used back at the water in the platform to unlock a ball and rope which is in turn used back on shore to unlock a ladder. At the top if the ladder is a third key, which is used back at the water platform to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces. These pieces are used to complete a three-level puzzle at the top of the platform on the shore. Michele is at the back of the pack for the majority of the challenge, but upon getting to the puzzle portion of the challenge everything clicks and she rapidly completes it before the others. As Jeff proclaims her the winner, she kicks the puzzle, causing it to collapse to the floor. Cydney confesses that Michele would have been the easy vote had she not won.
Michele wins Immunity. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, Michele confesses that she never expected to be in this position and that it has given her a lot of power. She believes that who she votes out here will have a big impact on whether she can win the game. On their way to water, Tai and Aubry discuss that the worst thing has happened. Their only possible target is Cydney. If they stick together it will be a tie which goes to a fire-making challenge. Aubry confesses that she has a funky vibe that Tai might turn on her, in which case she is screwed. Michele reassures Cydney that she will not be voting for her. She wants to target Aubry, thinking that Tai is not going to be good in front of a Jury. Cydney agrees that this is the best move, but she confesses that voting out Aubry will be hard. They need Tai to go with them, and Michele in confident that he will see that going with them is his best move. Tai and Michele talk on the beach while Cydney is present and Michele tells him that Aubry is their vote. If they vote together as a solid three, there is nothing Aubry can do. Tai agrees.
Tai agrees to vote for Aubry. (Image credit: CBS)
At Tribal Council, Jeff begins by pointing out how impressive Michele comeback was at the challenge. In light of Michele’s win and the dwindling numbers, Tai reveals that alliances are out the window and that it is now an individual game. Aubry points out that any person who the tribe votes out now will take a lot of critical information to the Jury that could shape the way the final vote goes. Cydney suggests that picking people who are smaller threats to stay in the game is more important than picking who will be on the Jury. Aubry also suggests that the line between strengths and weaknesses may be subjective, with different people seeing a quality as either one. Cydney reminds us that it is a “me” game, not a “we” game. Michele reminds us that she has to use her power wisely. They vote. Jeff reveals two votes for Aubry and two votes for Cydney. He checks in to make sure that no one is changing their vote, at which point he announces that there will be a fire-making challenge. First person to make a fire which can burn through the string and raise a flag will remain in the game. Aubry gets off to a good start but her flame quickly goes out. Cydney makes no progress and the jury seems to take satisfaction in this fact. Aubry eventually rebuilds her flame and burns through the rope. Aubry and Cydney hug. Jeff asks Cydney what she is feeling, and she reveals that she was trying to change her mother’s life. She wanted to pay her mortgage and get her some health insurance. Cydney’s torch is snuffed. Jeff tells the Final 3 that like a roller coaster, they have to hang on until the ride is over.
Aubry wins the fire-making challenge. (Image credit: CBS)
We return to the live event where Jeff introduces us to Cydney’s mom. Cydney did not tell her family how far she made it in the game or any of her reasons for wanting to win. Her mother tells her that it was hard for her to be strong when she saw Cydney at risk of heat stroke earlier in the season. She is exceptionally proud of her daughter and her accomplishments in the game.
Jeff speaks to Cydney’s mom at the live event. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, Michele remarks that she knew Cydney couldn’t win a fire-making challenge because she had never touched the flint. Aubry confesses that she is proud of herself for pulling it out when it mattered. After Aubry leaves, Tai remarks to Michele and Cydney didn’t think it would come to making fire. Michele says that she was surprised as well, telling Tai that she think that he just handed Aubry the million dollars. They start to celebrate being the Final 3, but Tai recognizes that Jeff never said that it was the final challenge and that they had earned their chance to speak before the jury. Aubry tells him that there will not be another challenge.
The tribe are shaken by the events of Tribal Council. (Image credit: CBS)
The next morning, Michele returns to camp with tree mail. There will be another challenge and the winner will decide “who will stay, and who will go”. Tai says that he knew it. Aubry and Tai check in with each other, but Tai reiterates that now it is completely an individual game. Aubry recognizes this as a sign that she needs to win Immunity.
There will be a Day 38 challenge. (Image credit: CBS)
The Final 3 arrive at the challenge and Jeff informs them that they are indeed the Final 3. All three of them will get to make their case to the jury. Today they are playing for reward: The ability to vote out a jury member. For the challenge, each contestant must balance on a wobbly beam while using a long pole to stack balls on stands. First person to stack all their balls wins. Jeff also points out that this challenge is the dexterity option that no one chose in the very first challenge of the season. All three contestants make decent progress but both Tai and Aubry drop their stacks along the way. Michele pulls out the victory once again.
Michele wins the Jury elimination reward. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, Michele seeks the advise of the other two contestants regarding what she should do with her vote. She suggests to Tai that Joe might be her best move because he is locked in for Aubry. Tai suggests that Neil might be an even better choice since he is likely to make a strong case for Aubry. She tells Aubry that Joe and Neil are her two current picks, but Aubry suggests that Tai has more votes than he is letting on. Aubry suggests Scot might be an impassioned Jury member that could come out against her. Scot might be the right choice.
Michele discusses her options with Aubry. (Image credit: CBS)
The Jury quickly notice that no one has the Immunity necklace and that this might be interesting. Jeff declares that they are indeed the Final 3 and tomorrow night will get to plead their case. He then reveals that Michele won a significant advantage today, and he allows Michele to read the advantage to the Jury. She will get to vote one person off of the Jury. That person will not attend the Final Tribal Council at all. Julia tells Debbie that she thinks it’s Joe. Scot and Jason think it will be Jason. Michele places her vote and Jeff reveals that it is for Neil. As he gets and leaves the Tribal Council area, he tells Michele that despite her thinking she is a “bad ass bitch”, she is merely a puppy suckling at the teat. Jeff tells her that he thinks she made a good decision.
Neil has choice words after Michele removes him from the Jury. (Image credit: CBS)
Back at camp, the three remark their surprise at Neil’s words on the way out. Michele confesses that his actions proved her point in voting him out, but now she is nervous about how tomorrow night is going to go. Aubry confesses that she is still in this game until the very end, so she needs to fight for however many votes she can get.
The Final 3. (Image credit: CBS)
The next morning, the Final 3 find a mirror and a scale waiting for them along with their breakfast. Michele confesses that her job tonight is to convince the Jury that she is not there by accident. She made little moves all along the way to guarantee that she was in a good position, and she won challenges when she needed to. She wasn’t timid, she was strategic, and she made moves all along. Tai confesses that he is so close winning gate game, but the most important hurtle is still in from t of him. If he can’t convince the Jury to give him the win, all of the time he spent out here has been a waste. His biggest move was voting out Scot, and he will need to get Scot on his side. Aubry confesses that she has undergone a complete transformation in the game. The game has been a balance of triumphs and disasters which have shaken her into action. She didn’t play the flashiest game, but she was the one behind the curtain making everything happen.
The Final 3 see themselves in the mirror. (Image credit: CBS)
FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL
Final Tribal Council begins with Jeff introducing the Jury, who are quick to notice that Mark the Chicken is sitting with Tai. Jeff tells the Final 3 that they have gone as far as they can go in the game but now they must convince the Jury to vote for them. Nick begins by telling them that there is a lot of animosity and some people may not receive a question. He says that Michele needs to show intelligence, Tai needs to show awareness, and Aubry needs to show confidence. Debbie is second and she asks Tai if he has multiple personalities based on his flipping and indecisiveness. Tai says that he does not feel that he was a constant flipper. He does not have multiple personalities. He felt that he was consistent and made only one huge flip. Debbie then tells Aubry that she enjoyed watching her metamorphosis from a neurotic nerd to a geek warrior, but feels that Aubry would not have stayed in the game early on if it weren’t for Debbie’s help. She doesn’t feel Aubry reciprocated. Aubry says that she would have been there for Debbie as a human being, but as a game player they were going in different directions. Julia is third, and she begins by addressing Michele. She says that Michele was initially the weakest member of the Beauty tribe, and she got the merge based on being lucky and sliding through. After the merge, she was a number who got dragged until the point where Michele voted out herself, Julia. That was Michele’s first big move, and Julia was proud of her for it. Michele says that being on the Brawn or the Brains tribe makes people assume you have those qualities, whereas a Beauty has to prove they have those qualities. Thus, it took her some time to get her game going. Julia then tells Tai that he had the opposite problem. He had a strong start to the game and a deteriorating finish. Tai says that overall he thinks he trumped what Michele accomplished.
Julia addresses Tai. (Image credit: CBS)
Joe is fourth, and he begins by telling Tai that he is a very good and honest man with a “Buddhist soulfulness” about him. He asks Tai to tell him why he is more deserving than Aubry. Tai says that he was a provider, he was a physical threat, and he made a big move against Scot. Joe then asks Aubry why they should vote for her. She responds that if Tai didn’t have her nothing would have ever happened. Tai was constantly on the wrong side of the vote, but he was able to pull things off with her help. She had her pulse on the game when he didn’t and she is the one who made things happen. Jason is fifth, and he begins by saying that his vote is totally up in the air. He asks Michele to explain how she went from being on the outside of the game – a person who was kept out of the Scot vote – to a key member of the alliance of four with Cydney, Aubry, and Joe. She says that they did not trust her because of her relationship with Julia. When she made the plan to vote out Julia, she proved to them that she was with them and thus became a part of the alliance. She made moves. It was not luck. Jason asks Tai what the real reason was that he left Scot and Jason for the others. Tai says that he got jealous of their closeness and couldn’t relate to their savage behaviour.
Jason addresses the Final 3. (Image credit: CBS)
Cydney is sixth, and she begins by asking Aubry if it was always her intention to vote for her at the Final 4. Aubry says that she wanted to vote out Michele had it not been for Michele winning Immunity. Aubry says that Cydney was right there with her for every big move after the merge and many of the moves were Cydney’s idea. This made Cydney a threat and made it so Aubry had to vote for her. She also notes that she thought that that was what Cydney would do if she had been in her shoes. Cydney tells Michele that she is appreciative of the opportunity to make fire to save her life in the game. Michele reassures her that she would have done whatever she could to save Cydney. Scot is seventh and last. He tells Tai that he got an idol and never used it. He got an advantage and used it to no consequence. His alliances didn’t trust him. He tells Aubry that she started the game well and he had respect for her, but why would he vote for her. She says that she is a competitor and he is a competitor, and as a competitor he can respect someone who plays the game different than him. Scot has no reaction. He tells Michele that she out-toughed the other two as the game went along and as the other two got weaker. Michele begins to cry and smile. Scot applauds and sits down. Jeff gives them each one last chance to argue their case. Aubry says that she had a rough start and her game evolved along the way. She managed a lot of personalities and she tried hard in challenges even though she didn’t win many. She was victorious in the ultimate Survivor challenge of making fire. She outwitted, outlasted, and outplayed. Tai says that he believes in goodness in humanity and recited a proverb about life resembling plants floating on the water and blown together and apart by the elements. Michele says that she had to keep her cool and have faith in herself. She fought her way there against a lot of roadblocks. She was the only one who had faith in herself. She’s proud of herself. The Jury votes. Julia votes for Michele, saying that she promised she would. Joe votes for Aubry, saying that she did a nice job. Jeff retrieves the votes and offers Tai and opportunity to release Tai into the wild. Jeff tells them that he will see them in America for the reading of the votes. He says “seeya, Mark” as he exits the Tribal Council set.
Jeff brings the season to a close. (Image credit: CBS)
We cut to the live event, where Jeff appears in the back of the auditorium with the urn of votes. He makes his way to the stage where he reveals the votes. He shows two votes for Aubry, but the majority go to Michele. Michele is the winner of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.
Michele is named the winner of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. (Image credit: CBS)
SURVIVOR OZ SWEEP!
SURVIVOR RE-CAPPER: FAN SPECIAL
Our fourteenth recap for the season sees fans Chris, Joe and Catherine talk about their thoughts on the finale of Kaoh Rong! Our recap for the finale discusses everything that happened during this episode and season as well as looking ahead to next season Survivor: Generation X vs Millennials!
Thanks for sticking with us through this excellent season and join us again next season as we recap and discuss the Survivor: Generation X vs Millennials!
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