Welcome to my final Survivor blog for 2016! This week I wrap up the final episode, we hear from Julian on his final thoughts and a special Q&A with Survivor Philippines winner, Denise Stapley.

Day 36-39

Post tribal. The final six celebrate making it to the last round of challenges and Hannah is very pleased that her plan to vote out Sunday was a success.

David has a midnight arts and craft session and uses his time wisely, opposed to Tayls just hiding mason jars of food, he makes a fake idol! The intricacy is parallel to Bob Crowley’s fake idol in Gabon and I am SO impressed! How much effort is required to make a successful fake idol though? Ozzy showed in Micronesia that not much is required at all, but Jason Siska wasn’t really ‘all there’ was he? Anyhow, David made a valiant effort this time around.

 GENIUS. [Image credit: CBS]

We just knew one of the boys who’d previously found an idol would find David’s marked coconut, and low and behold Jay is the one eyeing on every single tree and coconut on the island. He sees David’s coconut and jumps on it. He believes this is a real hidden idol and is such a cocky bastard about how he’s safe next tribal. Love it!!

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner! [Image credit: CBS]

Ken gets to open his Legacy Advantage! Dun, dun, dun… not that exciting, but he is guaranteed immunity at next tribal council. I was hoping he would be able to eliminate someone completely. How dramatic would that have been?! At least Ken doesn’t have to try as hard next challenge.

REWARD/IMMUNITY CHALLENGE 1

Race through obstacles collecting tiles to form a combination lock to release a key. Cover your combination lock! Race through more obstacles to unlock a bag full puzzle pieces of an awesome hanging bat puzzle. Reward is also a steak feast, with all the fixins!

Jay figures out the combo lock first, but forgets to cover it. So EVERYONE looks at Jay’s numbers. Woeful!! Everyone is on the bat puzzle with Jay slightly ahead. The man who went into Survivor as the puzzle master finally gets one right and David wins immunity and reward! Before Jeff can even tell David what the reward is, Jay wants to use his reward-steal. He takes David as he won immunity (good choice), and Adam because he pretty much gave him the reward (another good choice to solidify their “alliance”).

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Steak reward. Jay works on Adam and David to vote out Bret. He calls Bret out that he has many friends on the jury, so true. David wants to use Jay as a ‘meat shield’ going forward.

Vinaka beach. David, Adam and Hannah agree that Jay needs to go as he’s the biggest threat there. And Bret is just so over playing with crazy people!

TRIBAL COUNCIL 1

Idol talk is brought up by Jeff and Ken doesn’t believe anyone has snuck out in the middle of the night to find one.

Jay plays his idol in such a cocky way. The poor love! Jeff advises it is NOT a hidden immunity and throws it in the fire.

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Sorry, bro! You got played. [Image credit: CBS]

Ken then stands up and pulls out a parchments from his sock. He announces he wants to play his Legacy Advantage which is automatic immunity at this tribal council. Heads turn again as they’ve already witnessed one shock tonight. Jess also finds out what it is and is most annoyed… If only she had made it past the rock draw!!

Lewis pulls an Eliza at her Ken’s advantage. [Image credit: CBS]

Votes are read and poor Jay has met his match with all votes going against him. He leaves with a huge smile on his face and I personally think he has been a pleasure to watch this season!  Jay-5, Ken-1.

What a great sport Jay was this season. [Image credit: CBS]

Watch Jay’s “Ponderosa” here


IMMUNITY CHALLENGE 2

David is worried about now being the biggest target since his meat shield is gone!

Maneuver a buoy through obstacles. Use two handles to transport puzzle pieces over a see-saw (not a teeter-totter, I’m not in America). Use pieces to solve a word puzzle.

David has a great start, and this guy said he’s not great in water… He quickly sinks behind and Ken charges ahead. Jeff: “Pick up those legs, David!!” Bret is on the word puzzle first, but Ken works out that it is NOT A PARTICIPATION TROPHY first.

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Ken wins his THIRD individual immunity. [Image credit: CBS]

Adam goes idol searching…. CHA CHING! He finds his second of the season.

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Two for Susie! [Image credit: CBS]

Bret thinks it’s Adam or David going at next tribal and he approaches Adam to get David out. Adam straightaway shows Bret his idol. NO! Adam thinks he has total power over tonight’s vote, and then tells Hannah he has the idol too. NO!! Oh Adam, I question his choices sometimes. Like Jay, he does come across somewhat arrogant at times. Hannah has a huge choice to make – go with David, or Adam. She brings up the question about Adam maybe having an idol with David and he’s not sold at all. Hannah is the swing vote and the sole lady in charge!

TRIBAL COUNCIL 2

Jeff asks Hannah who the biggest threats are in the game and she mentions David first. Bret argues David would be hard to win against in the final 3, and on the flip side David mentions Bret has friends on the other side. David is counting on his friends and trust to get him to the next day – he’s looking at you, Hannah! Adam plays his REAL idol, and Bret looks worried. And he should be, as he receives majority of the votes. As the Boston cop leaves, he congratulates David and tells the remaining players they’ve lost a million dollars. Great exit!! Bret-3, David-2.

Bret leaves salty, but in good spirits. [Image credit: CBS]

Watch Bret’s “Ponderosa” here


Post tribal. David can’t believe he’s still there! It is a testament to how well his social game has been, especially gaining so much trust in Ken and Hannah. Adam is not happy with this outcome and questions Hannah’s decisions. She backs herself saying Bret wouldn’t have taken her to the end, and David would. She understands David needs to be taken out next and agrees with Adam that one of them have to win final immunity.

FINAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE

Use a long pole to maneuver a bowl through a maze which is sitting on a spring. It wobbles, your bowl drops. Wind blows, your bowl drops. First person to stack 13 bowls, or person with most bowls stacked after 30 minutes wins!

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Look at that focus. [Image credit: CBS]

Everyone’s bowls knock over and it’s a tie between Ken and Hannah after 30 minutes. Immunity showdown! I am totally rooting for Hannah at this point (sorry Ken). Unfortunately, or fortunately for Ken, he wins his 4th and final individual immunity. And a one way ticket to the final tribal council!

Vinaka beach. David is hoping his strong bond with Ken will keep him in the game tonight, and hopefully go to a fire-making challenge. Hannah tells Adam she wants to work on flipping Ken over, and she makes a darn good effort at it! Ken appreciates Hannah’s points, but struggles with the decision. Adam and David are on the same page that they will be writing each others name down at tonight’s tribal.

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David is hoping for a miracle tonight. [Image credit: CBS]

TRIBAL COUNCIL 3

Jeff starts off with praising Hannah at the final challenge, especially when she couldn’t even get herself together at her first tribal council. Her response to the compliment is priceless!!

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When you interrupt authoritae… [Image credit: CBS]

Adam brings up again that David is the biggest threat left in the game, and I so so want to see him in the final 3!

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Next from David, pirouette! [Image credit: CBS]

David tries to sway Ken’s vote with how loyal he’s been since day 1. Ken understands what he needs to do and shows it in this vote. He needs to play the game to greater his chance to win the million dollars. With this, David goes home. No fire-making challenge 😦 I really do believe David would have received enough votes to win Survivor if he had made the Final 3. His growth throughout the game has been phenomenal and I hope to see him back again! David-3, Adam-1.

Watch David’s “Ponderosa” here


We see the final 3 have their celebratory final breakfast before heading to FTC. Thank goodness it’s short.

FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL

We don’t see any opening statements from the Final 3, and Taylor opens up the floor asking each of them why they should win the million. Hannah expresses how strategic her game play has been, how she’s grown since her first panic attack and how she’s been responsible for every single person on the jury. Ken explains how his ability to build lasting bonds in the game should be credited and Adam feels he played the best game out over the 3 without going into much detail.

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Sunday asks how adaptable each of them have been, and Ken brings up a good point there needs to be a balance of how adaptable you should be as if you don’t want to be seen as a flipper, because flippers never win (according to Dan Foley). Adam thinks he has been the most adaptable of the 3 and Hannah begs to differ.

Jess calls out on Ken voting out his best ally David. Ken answers this so well by saying voting out David was the hardest decision he made in the game. But in the end David was his #2 alliance, with his #1 being his daughter. Beautiful.

For the remainder of the tribal, it’s pretty much a battle between the two millennials. Adam calls out Hannah going rogue. Hannah defends all her moves as she was sticking to her own guns and how Adam wasn’t in on all her decisions. I found Hannah answered all the questions well, but came across a little too defensive and aggressive at times. In saying that she deserved more credit, but unfortunately I don’t think the jury bought it. This came across especially in Chris’ question where he was convinced Adam was the one who made Ken flip on David. Hannah says Adam is very good at taking credit for her moves, and seems like a case of Aubry-itis from Kaoh Rong, where no one really believed she could make such moves! Sad really.

The nail in the coffin was most definitely the end where Adam revealed his story about his mum and how this journey is not just for him. His Survivor story was also her dream. No matter what, I still believe he would have received majority of the votes and to those who don’t believe this is the case, watch back on the season and see what he DID do. A lot!

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David’s turn and it’s a tearfest! [Image credit: CBS]

We are back in the States for the winner announcement and how cute do these three look?!

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AWW! [Image credit: CBS]

VOTES: Adam – 10 Michelle, Taylor, Chris, Jessica, Zeke, Will, Sunday, Jay, Bret, David. Hannah – 0. Ken – 0.

SOLE SURVIVOR: Adam Klein

CONGRATULATIONS Adam, a well-deserved win. And epic, emotional journey for him and his family. I couldn’t be happier for the guy!

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Another winner to add to the list. [Image credit: CBS]

FINAL WORDS: Huge thank you to all my awesome Survivor guests who contributed to my first US Survivor blog – Jimmy T Tarantino, Dale Wentworth, Carolyn “Mama C” Rivera, Kat Dumont, Nick Iadanza, Flick Egginton and Denise Stapley. And the most massive thank you to my wonderful friend Julian for his recaps throughout the season!


SURVIVOR JULIAN’S THOUGHTS

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Follow Julian on Twitter | Instagram

Our second season ever to have a finale with a final 6 ensured the 2 hour show hurtled to the final tribal council at break-neck speed. The momentum was exciting and relentless, making it definitely one of the better finales of recent seasons.

After the Sunday vote out, we saw David get crafty with fake idols and the sequence between him hiding the idol and Jay’s overconfidence was editing gold. It was great to see the reward steal actually used – even though it did little to impact the game. The fake idol play as well as the legacy advantage play made the final 6 tribal council up there as another one of the many fantastic moments of the season.

I do have to say though that the actual advantage of the legacy advantage was a bit of a non-event, as I had suspected it would be, considering the twists of vote doublers, and vote steals of seasons past. Jay really deserves to be eulogised as one of the greats of the season, with such a lot of charisma in his confessionals, and such a great sport as he made his exit.

There’s much more that could be said about the order of the Bret and David vote outs, and while it was a risk Hannah took, ultimately their boot order didn’t matter since David was still axed before the final three. Though, if David had made it to the Final Tribal Council, despite Adam’s favour with the jury, I do believe he would have won the season.

It’s not so much that Ken and Hannah were in any way goats – I believe they both played hard in their own way. In my opinion Adam winning was just that in a season where the jury respected strategy, they found more to respect in his stable strategic game, over Hannah’s effective, yet slightly neurotic, game-play, and Ken’s old school style game. Ultimately, they all had pros and cons. I’d say hands down from what we had seen Adam played the best game of the three, but was his path to the finals all that much better than Hannah’s who was on the right side of the vote every vote bar the Michaela blindside? It depends on how you distinguish their games and that’s where debating Survivor gets so complex.

As far as final tribal council performances go, I think all three were solid, with Ken being the weakest of the three. Hannah made some good points, but could have taken a few more pauses before interjecting, coming off as defensive at times, as did Adam, although I think he had a better answer to Zeke’s question about how he played a part in the evolution of the game by making big moves and then stepping back.

Ken was right to be frustrated with Chris assigning credit to Adam for the David vote out when it was completely his own move. It really was a pivotal move as Adam in the end was sitting next to people he would beat, regardless of anyone’s final tribal council performances – and in Survivor that’s all that matters.

And what a satisfying winner Adam was – an earnest and likeable guy throughout the game, though at times by some he could also been seen as a bit of a self congratulatory do-gooder  – even if his game play gave him reason to be.

It was a beautiful and tragic story about playing for his family, and his honesty and realness of what he was going through made his story so powerful and ensured we had one of the most emotional finales and reunions of all time. It needs to be said though it was Adam’s game, not his personal struggle that won him the season and any suggestion that he played some kind of ‘mum sympathy card’ is both offensive and ridiculous.

Jury members have spent the whole game getting to know these people and who they respect, and almost always have their perceptions of the players set in stone regardless of final tribal council theatre. If the vote had been a close one perhaps that argument could have been made – although not convincingly in my mind. However with such a dominant win, to the jury Adam was always the clear standout player of the season and in my mind, definitely one of the best winners since Natalie Anderson. Such a great conclusion and such a worthy winner goes a long way to elevating Millennials vs Gen X as undoubtedly one of the best since Cagayan. Can’t wait for March.


Finale (Ep14) Q&A w/ DENISE STAPLEY

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What’s better than having a former winner to recap another season of Survivor?! In Survivor Philippines, Denise Stapley formed a strong alliance with her Matsing partner in crime Malcolm, put up with the likes of Abi Maria and attended every single tribal council. Denise won in a 6-1-1 vote against Lisa Whelchel and Mike Skupin, and is one of the loveliest Survivor’s you can meet!

Welcome to Reality Ramblings, Denise! Thanks for joining me on this week’s finale recap.

LyndzO: First, housekeeping. How have YOU been? It’s coming to the end of the year. Do you have any great plans for Christmas and holidays?

DeniseS: Hey Lynda!

Doing GREAT on this end!  Working to adapt to the current “polar vortex” of winter which means looking like a ninja when I go out for my runs these days… and looking incredibly “sexy” in my nightly stocking cap and sweats.  Good times.  In all seriousness… we really are doing great.  Life with a 13 year old keeps us busy for sure so when vacation days come around… we soak them up. Looking forward to a few of those ahead with the holidays.  We’ll likely lay pretty low, maybe drink some extra coffee, nibble on junk food, and take in a few movies. Ultimately I’m looking forward to sleeping in past our normal 4:45am wake up call.

Thank you for asking me to be a part of your Reality Ramblings! As most people know I was a fan first before I was ever a player so breaking down the game is what I love to do!  And this season definitely gave us a lot to digest!

LO: On to Survivor… WOW, WHAT A FINALE. It was jam-packed with challenges, blindsides and more intense moments. What was your overall impression of the finale? Did you anticipate enjoying it as much as you did?

DS: I LOVED this finale!  Honestly have we had one that has been this good in a long time??? What made it great was seeing such a strong final 6 going into it.  Sitting here at home, it seemed like any one of them had a realistic shot at the million. Plus we had several under dogs in the mix with David, Adam and Jay that just made me want to root for them more and more to make it to the end.

Overall…the season felt like it had a slow start for us. Maybe outside life here was just busier and I wasn’t able to focus as much time on doing some of the things I love each season. Those things that always get me hyped up like reading and watching all of the pregame interviews, and post game exit interviews. So it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that if felt like it really picked up and I began to feel more connected and engaged with the players.

LO: Are they any contestants who left a lasting impression on you by games end?

DS: You know what…yes.  There are two in particular that have left a lasting impression for not just myself…but I think our entire family.  And that’s David and Jay.

David – gotta love him. Can you get any more neurotic? Or anxious? Or ill equipped to land on that island? I’m not sure! But David is someone who grew leaps and bounds throughout his time on the island and that’s something that really draws me in. Maybe it’s the therapist in me… but I love it. And he’s someone that in listening to his exit interviews carries no bitterness about the experience. It’s all about growth for him and we don’t see that a lot.

Then there’s Jay. Initially, I wasn’t loving him. There was just too much bromancing & romancing going on for my taste between himself & Taylor, and Taylor & Figgy. So once that triad broke up he became more “real’ to me. We got to see more of HIS personality instead of the personality created by the threesome. And the vulnerability and genuine emotional moments shared at the Family Visit and then later between he and Adam was really touching. Again, just something we don’t see a great deal not just in Survivor, but life.

LO: Diving into the first half of the finale with David. That idol he made, is that the most intricate craft we’ve seen since Bob Crowley’s in Gabon? And the way Jay bought it straight away. You knew one of the boys who had found one previously would notice the markings on the coconut. Would you have believed it was a real idol?

DS: Okay…first we have to just realise that the likelihood of me finding an idol is slim to none as evidenced to my lack of finding one that was LITERALLY in my hand and under my nose for days and days. But that being said, yes, I would have likely fallen for it because Dave executed it beautifully. From the mixing of the paint (he described this in his exit interview), to the containing it back in a coconut that fell in line with how the others were found, to including the parchment paper; it was genius. And I, much like Jay, would have taken it hook, line and sinker.

LO: What do you think about Jay playing the idol? Fake or not, if you believe you have an idol and know you’re on the bottom, you play it right?

DS: I would. Or I would have been trying to think about how to leverage it in a way to save myself at that point. I don’t think you have an option. After seeing this though, I might preface it with…”I may end up looking like an idiot… but I hope this is a real idol.”

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LO: At the first tribal council Ken also played his Legacy Advantage which was automatic immunity. Did you like what the Legacy Advantage was? Did it live up to the 36-day hype? (At least Jessica got to find out what it was too!)

DS: I’m not sure I’d say it lived up to the 36 day hype, but I do like it. I like the fact that it adds a wrinkle in & we truly don’t know how it will play out. And I like it because it wasn’t a guarantee of being in the final three.

LO: Unsurprisingly Jay goes home. I don’t think there was much more Jay could do except win the immunity challenge (and cover up his number code, oops!), and he wanted to take Adam to the end. Do you think he could have beaten Adam at F3? I don’t believe it would have been a landslide victory for Adam in this case.

DS: I agree with you 100% in that if Jay is sitting in that F3 there is a much greater chance that there’s no landslide victory. Wondering even, could you end up in more of a tie situation based on who both of them had connected with on that jury.

LO: Jay also played his reward steal which Adam passed to him. Were you surprised that he stole this reward from David? I’m guessing the only difference is that David would have chosen Ken and Hannah to go with him instead!

DS: I truly wasn’t sure if we would ever see that advantage played. When Adam originally won it I wondered if it would end up being more of a curse than a reward. So tricky… how do you execute the use of it without alienating everyone else. So the timing seemed right. He had no other option, this was do or die time, and this was one last chance to try to solidify something, anything different that might help him stay in the game. And he did it in a way that didn’t piss off David and gave him props for winning the challenge… and then to take Adam again garnering that respect from him. I do think you’re right… not sure why David would have taken Jay in that situation or Adam for any reason given he was clearly seeing them as strategic threats he needed to get out.

LO: In the next part of the episode, Adam finds another idol and tells Hannah about it. What do you think about sharing hidden idols and in this case was it necessary?

DS: Hind site is always 20/20, but I do know that for myself, if I had ever found an idol, my plan would have been not to share it at all, or to be extremely cautious about the process. If I’m thinking correctly Hannah was playing both sides still at that point. So maybe Adam was still thinking that he could use that as leverage to get votes thrown another way.

LO: Moving on to Bret’s boot; how did you feel about the jovial cop? Do you think he had a path to the final 3 and who could he have beaten (if any?)

DS: My answer may be a bit shorter on Bret. I liked him as a character and he had some great moments this season for sure. Clearly his vote was a complete shock to him and I do believe that vote off had a significant impact on Hannah’s later chances in the game. I think if he had been in the final three with Ken and Sunday or Hannah he could have had a good shot to win. Anyone sitting there with any combination of Adam, Jay, or David… no shot.

LO: What do you think of Jeff’s statement that Bret and Zeke’s ‘coming out story’ scene was the moment of the season? It was a pretty great to watch, but not sure as the greatest moment.

DS: Umm no. Not even close for me. It was a great moment for sure & I loved seeing those generational lines crossed related to that. And I like the fact that Bret also somewhat breaks the mould of the stereotypical gay man. Because for many people he may serve to challenge their own perception of what it means to be gay, what it looks like to be gay etc. But that being said there were so many other fantastic moments that we saw that personally I felt were much more significant (i.e. the moment between Jay and Adam).

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LO: Final immunity challenge is a battle of the bowls. Do you prefer these ‘simpler’ challenges to the previous giant maze/structure challenges that take the life out of contestants? (Also I was secretly hoping Hannah would win!)

DS: Personally, I LOVE the more epic grander scale challenges at the end. I LOVE seeing the exhaustion and fatigue… and I know that that’s the type of challenge that I would have loved to have had for my own final challenge. Final challenges like the bowl challenge are good, and they add a level of suspense for sure, just not my favourite. But you bet, we had our fingers crossed for Hannah too (though I don’t think she ever needed it to get to the end).

LO: At this tribal council Ken voted against his number one ally. He never strayed from David’s side until this vote. Had David made the final 3, I feel as if he would have won. Do you feel the same way, or do you think Adam’s story would have still outshone him?

DS: I’m not totally sure on this one. Ultimately they both have a great story to share. But I do think that there was maybe more of a connection by players to David; something about that neurotic anxiety that makes him incredibly likable. Adam I think may have at times come across more intense & calculating which doesn’t necessarily help to build those personal bonds. But with him sharing that story of his mom…I’m not sure…may have all changed at that point.

LO: On to Final tribal council: How do you feel about this Final 3 of Hannah, Ken and Adam? (I feel like this was one of the strongest final 3 we’ve seen in a long time!)

DS: I actually feel that way about the entire final 6!  I can’t remember a time recently where I’ve felt this okay about having any one of them win.

LO: Jess calling out Ken on voting out David. Some would say there’s more respect for Ken making this move as he progressed his own game, but in Jess’ eyes this was not a move to gain votes. Is it a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation? If Ken took David to F3 he may have been seen as David’s goat. As you have experienced, how hard is jury management and gaging what the jury actually want?

DS: Jury management is really hard! And I do think that Ken was screwed either way. If he keeps David like you said the perception is that he’s a goat or riding his coat tails (likely how I would have been viewed if Malcolm was sitting next to me), but by voting him off… suddenly another player (not necessarily David himself) sees him as incongruent in his game play.

LO: Are you surprised that Ken didn’t gain David and Jessica’s votes in the end? What more could Ken have said to sell his game?

DS: Sadly I’m not sure what more he could have done other than to really own voting off David. I think unfortunately he came off as defensive as he was being thrown under the bus by Chris.

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LO: Hannah, time and time again, told the jury what moves she made in the game, but I feel the jury didn’t buy any of it at the time (similar to Aubry in Kaoh Rong). Was she being too aggressive with her answers by admitting she put everyone on the jury? Do you think she deserved more credit for the moves she made?

DS: I definitely think Hannah deserves more credit for the moves she made in the game. Unfortunately last night was the first time she was able to really lay that out to them clearly and with some fire… which is NOT how she had been viewed the other 38 days of the game. So again, as I’ve heard her talk in her own exit interviews she seems to understand that perception is everything. You could really look at it similarly from my own season and Penner’s reaction to me during the final tribal council.

On a side note, I know we could get into a larger gender discussion when it comes to this. But if you get a chance, listen to Adam’s exit interview with Rob Cesternino on the Red Carpet. It really got me thinking because what he was describing was essentially the same as Hannah’s strategy & it was respected. Makes me scratch my head a bit.

LO: Using Hannah as an example, do you think the players’ opinions would have changed after watching the season, and maybe would she have received some votes? And did this occur when you watched back on your season?

DS: Yes I do think that it may have swayed one or two, but again overall I think Adam still would have won by large margins for a variety of reasons. As far as my own season goes, I’m not sure.

LO: On to our winner Adam, bless his cotton socks, how much do we love him?! And do you think he could have won the game without mentioning his mum being ill? I still think he’s a deserving winner, albeit not playing the sharpest gamer (eg. he played both his idols incorrectly and was on the wrong side of many votes).

DS: Ha bless his cotton socks is right!  I did enjoy watching him play though some times he had me scratching his head with how blunt or direct he was with other players. And yess, he played the idols incorrectly… twice. The story shared about his mom I believe just solidified his win.

LO: Be honest, how much have you cried this season because of Adam’s story? And how about him revealing seeing his mum again for an hour after he got back from Fiji? I was bawling!

DS: Okay, here’s where I may sound like a horrible, horrible person with a heart of coal 🙂 Not one.

LO: *GASPS*

DS: While I felt horrible for Adam and can’t even imagine being out on that island, carrying that emotional burden alone, loss is something that I deal with often with my clients. Often losses that have come through extremely tragic circumstances (murder, suicide) as well as losses of family members from cancer. So with that my perspective may be a bit skewed or desensitized to some degree. So while I felt and feel a genuine compassion and sadness for his loss, I was truly more moved, to tears, by the interaction between Jay and Adam. It was less for me about the content of the conversation than the impact that it had on showing us a very different side of Jay. And something we simply don’t see often in a world that sends the message that “big boys don’t cry.”

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FINAL QUESTIONS:

LO: At the reunion Jeff touched on a few stand out moments this season; what were your top moments of S33?

DS: What stands out for me is not necessarily the moments, but more the themes of vulnerability and authenticity of who each player was. And with this cast there seemed to be a theme of self awareness that again is not typical of many seasons.

LO: Would YOU have drawn rocks? (Poor Jess).

DS: Yes. Jess described it perfectly at the reunion. If you are already in an alliance with a solid group the impact of NOT drawing rocks and having to flip has consequences you may not be able to rebound from. I’d hate having to do it, and like her, I have no doubt I’d be heart broken to have my fate chosen by a stinkin’ rock.

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LO: Would you have the guts to play an idol on someone who wasn’t even in your alliance? (Go David!)

DS: For as anxious and neurotic as that man is or was, he has a great ability to think outside of the box (fake idol Jessica). And I would love to see and believe myself to be as brilliant. But I know that for me, that may not have been my route. I would really have had to have been able to see in my own mind the path of play from there and how it would play out to get me to the end.

LO: If you were cast on a future season of US Survivor and had to choose to be in an alliance with ONE season 33 player, who would it be and why?

DS: Wow.  That is a hard question. Because there were several. But if I had to pick just one, I’d have to say Jay. He reminds me a bit of Malcolm with a level of genuineness and maturity that’s wrapped up in a playful package. Plus I do think that he’s got a solid strategic side as well as being strong in challenges.

LO: Who were your top 3 favourite contestants of Season 33 and why?

DS: At the core of it all…I’m drawn to “different.”

David – neurotic, funny, “Cochranesque” & incredibly strategic.

Jay – Comedic relief at times, great in challenges, never gave up.  In it to win it for sure!

Hannah – Dude… she’s just funny.

LO: Are there any contestants you wish had made further in the game?

DS: Mari

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LO: [S34 SPOILER] How do you think Michaela and Zeke will go in Season 34: Game Changers?

DS: Okay… you know me, I’m a non spoiler gal. And regardless of any intel I may unfortunately have been given… does the general public know Zeke is on yet?  Don’t remember seeing him in the preview.  If so… here goes.

I think Michaela may have a tough go of it. She’s a strong personality which is awesome. But there are going to be some big egos out there. And I absolutely believe that there is a gender piece of this that continues to be played out in how strong women versus strong men are viewed in the game. For both of them… I worry a bit in how other players may perceive them having NOT seen them play. What will they assume about them, how will they be seen as a threat?

LO: And are you as excited as me for the next season? Sandra, Cirie, Tony, and your Philippines buddy, Malcolm! How do you think he will fair on his third time around?

DS: I really like Sandra as a person and she plays in a way I can’t even fully describe, but it is a craft of her own. And of COURSE I’m excited to see Malcolm play again! Luckily again there are plenty of egos out there and there are players with less strength in their social games which plays a BIG role. So I’m hopeful… not sure, but I’d LOVE to see him in the finals.

LO: As a fellow winner of Survivor, what will be your first words when you eventually meet Adam? It’s bound to happen in the near future 😉

DS: I’ve actually already reached out to Adam just a little while back via social media. But if I was just doing it now… as I have in the past it’s usually a simple and genuine “Congratulations! Welcome to the family as dysfunctional as it may be!”

LO: Would you place Millennials v Gen X in your top ranked seasons of Survivor?

DS: Hmmm definitely up there. If I were only rating it based on the back half of the game, top 10 for sure.

LO: Thank you so much for joining me on my final Reality Ramblings blog for 2016, Denise. Any final words?

DS: Thank YOU again for asking me to be a part of this. I LOVE getting the chance to gab about the game. And how cool is it that this crazy reality game continues to connect all of us from thousands of miles away! Hope all is well for you there in Australia. A trip “down under” is definitely on our bucket list! Until then, enjoy your Tim Tams & Happy Holidays!

Peace Out!

Denise

 


ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE COPYRIGHT CBS. THIS IS A PERSONAL BLOG AND ALL VIEWS ARE MY OWN.